24 November 2000
Four cows killed by train

By FWi staff

A TRAIN has ploughed into a herd of cows at 70mph and killed four animals, prompting calls for farmers to keep a close check on fences near railway lines.

Four cows belonging to George Hobill died in the incident at Asfordby, Leicestershire. None of the 55 passengers on the train were hurt.

The cows escaped on to the line through some fencing, believed to be the responsibility of Railtrack. The track was closed for the rest of the day.

The incident, which happened last Saturday (18 November) went unreported until passenger William Hollis, of Hertfordshire, informed the Leicester Mercury.

He told the paper: “It was horrific. We hit those cows at speed, smashed up the front of the train and carried on for about 400 yards.

“Blood was smeared down the windows and one was jammed underneath the train. We thought we were going right over.”

The National Farmers Union urged farmers to monitor at regular intervals the state of fences where fields containing livestock border rail lines.

A spokesman for the train company involved, Central Trains, said: “It does happen from time to time and normally nobody gets hurt.”

He insisted that the accident was not made public because it counted as a “collision with animals” rather than as a train crash.

But the British Transport Police said the train could have been derailed and that they did not know why the incident had not been reported.

A spokeswoman said Mr Hobill should be able to claim compensation from Railtrack if the rail company is found to be at fault.