A TRAIN driver who caused a crash at Bromsgrove Train Station after reading phone messages about the Covid lockdown 'could have been fatal'.

Mark Hubble, of Mildred Road, Cradley Heath has been sentenced to eight months imprisonment which has been suspended for 18 months after a crash at Bromsgrove Train Station on March 23, 2020.

The 40-year-old, who appeared at Worcester Crown Court on January 9, was sending and receiving messages on his phone while driving a cargo train.

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After entering the siding at Bromsgrove station just before 10:45 pm he lost concentration due to reading a picture message on his mobile and failed to control the speed of the train.

The train then struck the buffer stops derailing and obstructing the next trail line, causing a passing CrossCountry passenger train to crash into the cargo train.

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Bromsgrove Train Station.Bromsgrove Train Station. (Image: Reporter.)

Luckily no one was injured but there was ’extensive damage’ to both trains.

The court heard that under slightly different circumstances the incident may have had a “catastrophic outcome”.

In an accident report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), it states: “The driver did not stop the locomotive before it reached the buffer stop because he became distracted from the driving task by personal issues arising from the national COVID-19 lockdown announced earlier that evening.”

In delivering the sentence at Worcester Crown Court, Judge Nicholas Cartwright said luckily there were only six people on board the passenger train.

He said: “Alan Jones, the driver, was immediately covered in glass, his driver's door torn open.

“If the locomotive had derailed a little further over, this would have been a head-on collision and he would have been killed.”

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Hubble, who admitted breaching the Health and Safety Work Act at an earlier hearing at Kidderminster Magistrates Court, must also complete 120 hours of unpaid within the next twelve months, pay £600 in compensation to Alan Jones, £2,400 in costs and a £150 victim surcharge.

The prosecution was brought by the Office of Rail and Road.

Ian Prosser, Chief Inspector of Railways, said: “We are pleased with the outcome of this case. It sends a clear message to drivers about their responsibilities.

“This incident could have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.”