Misson Springs level crossing crash girl Emma Lifsey dies

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Media captionEmma's family said they were "utterly distraught" following her death

A four-year-old girl injured when a car was hit by a train on a level crossing in Nottinghamshire has died.

The crash happened at the Beech Hill crossing on Springs Road, Misson Springs, near the border with South Yorkshire, just after noon on Tuesday.

The girl, named as Emma Lifsey, was airlifted to Sheffield Children's Hospital but died in the early hours.

A woman, 67, who was in the car suffered neck injuries. No-one on the Lincoln to Doncaster train was injured.

In a statement, Emma's parents Mark and Zoe Lifsey, from Haxey in North Lincolnshire, said: "Emma meant the world to us. She was our much-loved daughter and a baby sister to her 11-year-old brother Jack.

'Shocked and devastated'

"We are still trying to come to terms with the terrible incident on Tuesday afternoon and there are no words that can properly express how utterly distraught we are.

"We would like to thank everyone for the many messages of sympathy and support we have received.

"As you can appreciate, this tragic incident has left us shocked and devastated and we would ask that we can be left to grieve in private at this acutely difficult and sad time for us."

There are more than 6,500 level crossings in the UK. The one at Beech Hill is of a half-barrier type, where only one side of the road is blocked as the train approaches.

A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said: "The police investigation into the incident is ongoing and remains very much in the early stages.

Crossings 'should go'

"Officers are working hard to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident, including how the vehicle came to be on the tracks at the time.

"This will include speaking to any witnesses to the incident, while specialist officers will also look at evidence from the scene and the car in question, a black Volvo which has now been recovered."

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Media captionJohn Mann MP called for a full review of all the level crossings

BTP added they would not be clarifying the relationship between Emma and the 67-year-old.

Emma's death has led to renewed calls for level crossings to be replaced.

Sim Harris, editor of Rail News, said the problem of crossings was as old as railways but had got steadily worse.

"The Victorians knew very well that level crossings were a particularly dangerous point - and that was in the days when trains usually did not run as fast as 30mph and the only traffic was horse-drawn.

"So we should regard it as a major risk and in the long term, no matter how much it costs, we will have to get rid of them, they don't fit into a 21st Century transport system,"

The RMT union's general secretary Bob Crow echoed this sentiment, saying: "There is no need for these barriers anymore.

"There should be a clear programme by Network Rail now, and the government should be fully behind them, that we are going to eliminate barriers altogether."

Huge costs

But while Labour MP for Bassetlaw John Mann, who represents the area, called the safety record of level crossings a "scandal", he felt replacing them with bridges or tunnels was not practical.

"It's hugely expensive," he said. "I have been trying to (replace) the one in Worksop, which is used by 12 trains a day and is a huge one in terms of traffic volumes.

"I've been trying to do work to get that removed and tunnel under it but the cost of doing it is six or seven million pounds and we have got a lot of (other crossings).

"It's unrealistic to think we can move quickly to get rid of them because the cost would be huge."

Network Rail's route managing director, Phil Verster, said: "We are all trying to understand what happened and are working closely with the investigating authorities to find the answers."

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