Shocking footage has emerged showing a van crashing through safety barriers at a railway crossing in Poulton - as a train approached.
CCTV footage showed sparks flying through the air as the train smashed into the stricken barrier at Carleton Crossing at around 1.30am yesterday, though nobody was hurt.
The traffic lights were also disabled for several hours at the nearby Plymouth Road roundabout after a control box there was also wrecked by the van.
A 31-year-old man from Cumbria has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and has been released under investigation, police said.
Residents said the dramatic events could have had fatal consequences.
Pensioner Jim Hudson, 73, of Meadow Crescent, Carleton, said: “It could have been much worse. You only have to think about the Selby train crash and know how much chaos can be caused by a car on a railway.”
Ten people were killed and dozens hurt in the 2001 crash at Great Heck, North Yorkshire, when a Land Rover – whose driver fell asleep and veered onto the track – was hit by a train, which derailed and was struck by another train.
Network Rail said the early hour smash significantly damaged the barrier, and said the crossing was working at the time – with its warning lights flashing.