A MOTORIST had a miracle escape when his car hit a 100-tonne, 75mph train at Knapton crossing yesterday.

The 20-year-old driver of the Vauxhall Astra which crashed into the train, told emergency services he had been dazzled by the sun and had driven into the back of the last of three carriages. It appears he also hit one of the level crossing barriers. He was taken to Scarborough Hospital with minor injuries and was later discharged.

Collision investigation officers from North Yorkshire Police were assisting officers from the British Transport Police yesterday evening in investigating how the smash had happened. But a member of the public at the scene, who did not want to be named, said the motorist, along with the 25 train passengers and its driver, had had a very lucky escape.

He said: “It’s a miracle he wasn’t hurt. The front of the car was really smashed up.”

The train was the 10.22am TransPennine from Liverpool to Scarborough. It was on the last part of its journey when the accident happened at 1.23pm.

Firefighters, ambulances and police went to the scene of the crash. It took the train about half a mile to come to a halt after the collision. A 50-metre stretch of the road leading up to the level crossing was cordoned off and diversions for motorists were in place.

At 3.45pm the passengers were transferred to a coach to complete their journey and Network Rail allowed the train to continue on to Scarborough.

Officials from Network Rail, British Transport Police and North Yorkshire Police began a detailed investigation to ascertain the cause of the accident.

It is understood the car was travelling towards the A64.

The passengers and train driver were shocked but unhurt. A spokesman for TransPennine Express said: “Trains are designed to stay upright in the event of some sort of collision, but trains weigh substantially more than a car so the ikelihood of a derailment is probably not that great. But if it was derailed, with the way it is built, it has a low centre of gravity so it should stay predominantly upright on a straight stretch of line. But from what I’ve heard the car struck the train a glancing blow.”

The crossing was not expected to be re-opened until about 6.30pm last night and TransPennine Express said trains were running as normal to Malton with a coach shuttle service to take passengers the final leg of the journey and vice versa.

All traffic had to be diverted from Yedingham to Heslerton to join the A64.

The crossing was less than a mile from the scene of a fatal accident on a crossing near Thorpe Bassett four years ago when a car being driven by an elderly Rillington man collided with a train.