Hogwarts Express operator banned from rail network after 100mph near miss

Near-catastrophe close to Royal Wootton Bassett was one of the 'most serious cases this year'

Updated: 
Photocall And press Launch Of Hogwarts Express And Platform 9 3/4

Train owner and operator of Hogwarts Express, West Coast Railways, has had its licence suspended after a near-collision which was described as one of the "most serious cases this year".

The incident saw one of the company's steam trains pass a red light and cross a junction moments after a high-speed train passed, narrowly avoiding a crash. The steam train was pulling 13 coaches of passengers.

According to the Swindon Advertiser, the Cathedrals Express service overrun the danger signal by 700 yards and stopped across the double line near Royal Wootton Bassett just one minute after the last train passed through.

The Department for Transport is investigating the near-miss and Network Rail suspended West Coast Railways' licence for a minimum of eight weeks after "the most serious Signal Passed At Danger (SPAD) that has taken place this year", the Daily Telegraph reports.

The ban means chartered services on the West Highland Line which take in Fort William, and the Settle to Carlisle line in the Yorkshire Dales, will not run until May 15.

Network Rail's suspension notice states: "Network Rail has had concerns about WCR's performance of its safety obligations for some time, and recent events lead Network Rail to believe that the operations of WCR are a threat to the safe operation of the railway."

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