NETWORK Rail has insisted that the barrier at a level crossing where a man died was working properly despite an earlier fault.

The company said there had been a problem at the Sandy Lane crossing a year ago, with the barrier rising and falling slowly, but it had been fixed before today’s crash.

British Transport Police said a man was pronounced dead at the scene after his car was hit by a freight train at about 3.40pm this afternoon. He is believed to have been a passenger in a Renault Kangoo which was struck by the train. The driver of the car has been taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital with minor injuries.

A Network Rail spokesman said the crossing fault was fixed last year when a treadle, which operates the crossing when triggered by an approaching train, was replaced.

He added that as a failsafe mechanism the barriers were designed to revert to their down position in the case of any failures in the mechanism.

Sandy Lane remains closed both ways between the intersection with Yarnton Lane and Yarnton Road, as well as its junction with Woodstock Road.

Just last month it was revealed British Transport Police had bought a new van equipped with CCTV to help enforce safety at level crossings, including Sandy Lane.

Police said they wanted to crack down on cars and pedestrians trying to beat safety barriers and warning alarms.

Buses are replacing trains between Oxford and Banbury and the line is expected to remain closed for the rest of the day while investigations continue.

In terms of commuters making alternative arrangements, First Great Western passengers may use Chiltern Railways services between London Marylebone and Banbury, CrossCountry services on reasonable routes and London Underground services on reasonable routes.

CrossCountry passengers may use Chiltern Railways services between London Marylebone and Birmingham Snow Hill, London Midland services Coventry / Worcester and Birmingham New Street, First Great Western services on reasonable routes, South West Trains services between London Waterloo and Bournemouth, Virgin Trains services between Birmingham New Street and London Euston and London Underground services on reasonable routes.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

Updates on the effect on train services will be posted on our Live Traffic Service.

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