A SAFETY barrier on a level crossing smashed a bus window as it came down with a train approaching.
Bus passengers narrowly escaped being hit by the train in the second serious incident to take place at the Green Lane crossing in Saltney in less than eight months.
Bus company First, which has issued a safety briefing to its drivers, is meeting with Network Rail and Cheshire County Council with a view to changing the road lay-out at that point.
Back in January a safety barrier came down on top of a bus at the crossing in an incident involving three buses.
Grandmother Margaret Murray, who was with her three-year-old granddaughter, was so traumatised she “collapsed in floods of tears” after arriving home.
The driver of the main bus involved accepted a caution from British Transport Police.
Ken Poole, First’s managing director for bus services in Chester and Wirral, said passengers of the 16 service could be confident they were safe despite the latest incident on September 17 when two passengers were on board.
He said: “We don’t consider the accident to be life-threatening. We don’t believe anybody was in danger of being hit by the train. The barrier caught the back of the bus and the barrier is away from the track as well.”
The road on the crossing is narrow and humped, one of the approaches is on a blind bend and an overgrown hedge is impairing visibility still further.
In the latest incident a car transporter met a bus coming in the opposite direction and they “inched” past each other as the sirens began to sound to indicate a train was due.
Mr Poole said the situation was worse when it involved drivers of large vehicle unfamiliar with the particular issues at the crossing.
He believes a short-term solution is to cut back the overgrown hedge but in the long run road needs to be straightened at that point.
Back in January, bus passenger Margaret Murray, of Victoria Road, Saltney, was heading home on First Group’s number 16 service when her driver “slammed on” to give way to a number 16 coming the other way.
But her driver had stopped just beyond the white line and there was nowhere to reverse because a minibus operated by another firm was directly behind so the barrier came down on top of the bus.
Fearing the train might collide with the front of the bus, Mrs Murray got herself and her granddaughter Jessica to the back of the vehicle within seconds and told everyone else to do the same.
She said: “I closed my eyes and could see the damn lights flashing. It wasn’t a long time but it felt like it was never going to stop, and the noise when the train went past!”