Shocked rail passenger describes 'horrible feeling' after train struck car in fatal level crossing crash
A passenger on the train that collided with a car in Somerset, killing the driver, has described the six hours he spent on the train following the incident
Kyle Millett, 25, from Wellington, was travelling from Taunton to a business meeting in London when the train collided with the car on a level crossing near Athelney at around 6.30am this morning.
Kyle said he knew immediately that something had been hit.
“The crash happened about five minutes after we left Taunton and I heard loud bangs and shuddering noises – I knew that we had hit something straight away, though I thought it might have been an animal on the line,” he said.
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“At this point a lot of people were looking around, talking, quite concerned.
“The lady who had taken my ticket then came running through the carriage, panicked, saying that there had been an incident and we had to move to First Class seating immediately."
The train dragged the car along the tracks for more than a mile before stopping.
37 passengers were stuck on the train for a number of hours following the accident and Kyle remembers some were getting irate.
“A guy started kicking off in the carriage at one point, getting angry about the fact that we hadn’t moved for over an hour, it was really only then we found out what had happened.
“A member of staff had to pull him to one side and quietly tell him that a car had been hit and someone had lost their life.
“Then members of staff started telling others what had happened and after that the atmosphere completely changed."
He explained: “I was shocked at the time, it was a horrible feeling, I felt awful and we weren’t allowed to move from the train – we just had to sit there knowing what had happened.”
Kyle paid tribute to the First Great Western staff for the way they dealt with the incident.
“The members of First Great Western on the train that day really deserve a lot of credit,” he added.
“They looked after us, provided us with croissants, sandwiches, teas and coffees and really made me feel at ease during what was quite an unpleasant time.”
When the train started moving again, it was around an hour before Kyle arrived back in Taunton at around 12.15pm.
“The train limped back to the station extremely slowly,” Kyle said, “but interestingly it stopped again for quite some time at the level crossing in Athelney, and I’m not sure why.
“I’m feeling a bit better now I’m back at home but it was definitely an ordeal.”
When asked how he felt about travelling via rail again, Kyle said for the most part he was unaffected.
He said: “I have every faith in First Great Western and Network Rail.
“They dealt with the whole situation professionally ensuring we were kept as comfortable as possible and I am due to travel on the same line this coming Saturday on business.”
LEVEL CROSSING TRAIN CRASH - RELATED CONTENT
WHERE IT HAPPENED