A FARM worker who drove through a Cumbria level crossing as a train approached has been banned from driving for a year.

John Wilson, 52, of Whitehill, Kirtlebridge, Lockerbie, Scotland, drove a tractor and trailer through Floriston level crossing, near Carlisle on 5 June last year, ignoring the flashing lights and descending barriers, hitting one in an attempt to speed over the crossing.

Wilson appeared at Carlisle Magistrates' Court on 26 February and found guilty of dangerous driving. He was disqualified from driving for a year and ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge, £985 court costs and carry out 120 hours of unpaid work

The automated crossing had halted the approaching passenger train from Glasgow to London which was travelling at around 90 mph, resulting in more than 810 minutes of delays to the rail network.

Wilson, who had used the same crossing up to 10 times that same day while carrying out silage works, admitted the offence but claimed that because the lights were yellow and not red he thought he could proceed despite the barriers coming down. He added that he was unable to stop the vehicle given the speed he was travelling as he approached the crossing.

PC Darren Rogers from BTP said: “The driving ban issued to Wilson reflects the severity of this offence. Not only did he endanger his own life but his actions could have had far reaching and potentially fatal consequences for each passenger on that train. All this, not to mention the delays to the rail network he caused by this mindless act which resulted in disruption to the travelling public that day.

“Traffic signals serve a vital purpose and ignoring them is an offence which as demonstrated will be dealt with severely by the courts. Taking chances on the railway could lead to disastrous consequences.”