CCTV shows dramatic level crossing van crash
Dramatic CCTV footage has been released showing a van smashing through a level crossing barrier.
The vehicle is shown forcing its way over railway tracks in Sunningdale, Berkshire, despite warning lights being active for more than 10 seconds.
The incident happened shortly before a train passed through and caused more than 10 hours of delays to services, as well as costing taxpayers more than £60,000.
Network Rail level crossing manager Mark O'Flynn said it was only through "sheer luck" that no-one was injured by the driver's "reckless actions".
He went on: "People often underestimate the danger at crossings and how quickly trains are travelling.
"When you don't follow the rules it's not just your life you're putting at risk.
"Shaving a couple of minutes off your journey is simply not worth it."
Network Rail said the driver, Emanuel Goagara, 36, of Mollison Way, Edgware, north London, was handed an 18-month driving ban, ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 in compensation at Staines Magistrates' Court on December 12.
He pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle dangerously, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed.
Investigating officer, Pc Joel Freeman-White, of British Transport Police, said Goagara "put himself and others in danger", risking his life and that of the train driver and passengers.
He continued: "I'm pleased that he has been convicted of this criminal offence and hope that his case will be a warning to other motorists or pedestrians who might be tempted to misuse level crossings."
There were six accidental fatalities at level crossings in Britain in 2016/17, Rail Safety and Standards Board figures show.
Network Rail is investing more than £100 million to improve level crossing safety.