Shetland ponies killed on Doncaster to Scunthorpe railway line

Three Shetland ponies have been killed near Doncaster after straying on to a railway line.

British Transport Police said a passenger train struck the horses on the line near Thorne, between Doncaster and Scunthorpe, at about 10:20 BST.

The RSPCA said a pregnant mare died of her injuries and two other ponies that had broken legs were put down.

National Rail Enquiries reported delays of up to 50 minutes on the line, which reopened at 12:25 BST.

The incident happened when a herd of about a dozen ponies escaped from their field, crossed a dyke and a canal bridge, and strayed on to the railway line, the RSPCA said.

The train driver and passengers were not hurt and the other ponies in the herd bolted from the scene.

Police officers, four RSPCA officers, and members of Network Rail attended the scene.

A BTP spokesperson said: "Officers are currently carrying out a full investigation into the incident to determine how the horses came to be on the tracks."

A local woman, who wished to remain nameless, said the incident happened at a "very rural area" near Maud's Bridge on Green Bank Lane between Scunthorpe and Doncaster.

National Rail Enquiries said the routes affected had been Sheffield, Doncaster, Hatfield and Stainforth, Thorne South, Crowle and Scunthorpe.

First TransPennine Express operate trains on the line.

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