Inquiry launched after boy collides with park train at crossing

People help the boy after he collided with the train in South Marine Park.
People help the boy after he collided with the train in South Marine Park.

A safety review is being carried out after a schoolboy on a bike ran into the side of the miniature railway train in South Shields’ South Marine Park.

The 12-year-old was left with scrapes and bruises after hitting the side of the moving locomotive - clearing his handlebars and the train and landing on other side of the crossing.

We’ve had no issue before, and the crossing has a long history where nothing has happened, but we will be looking at how something like this can be prevented from happening again.

Mike Henderson

Staff and witnesses rushed to give him first aid and kept him warm with a coat as shock set in.

An off-duty firefighter also offered his skills to ensure he was not badly hurt before he said he was fine to sit up, then stand.

The boy’s mum arrived and took him for a check up at hospital, with the train’s bosses since being told he has not sustained serious injuries.

The operators of the train, Lakeshore Railroad, say they have reported the incident to the Health and Safety Executive and has held discussions with South Tyneside Council, which owns the park.

The inquiry will look at whether improvements can be made, with barriers at the crossing among measures to be considered.

Around 15 passengers were on the train when the collision happened at around 4.50pm on Tuesday.

No others were injured, but the train’s driver was left badly shaken.

Mike Henderson, who owns Lakeshore Railroad, which runs the train, said the train’s driver had blown the engine’s whistle “well in advance” as it approached the crossing and two of the boys stopped, with the third colliding with the locomotive.

Mr Henderson said: “We’ve had no issue before, and the crossing has a long history where nothing has happened, but we will be looking at how something like this can be prevented from happening again.

“It is possible we could put in barriers, it’s one thing we are considering, but there are problems with that, potentially keeping people in between them and they won’t be able to step back, and there are also maintenance vehicles which use that road to empty the bins and if they had to reverse, that in itself is a hazard.”

He added the inquiry is in its early stages.

A council spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear this and hope that the individual concerned makes a speedy recovery.

“We are also in discussion with the private operator to find out exactly what happened.

“We would urge anyone visiting South Marine Park to be mindful of the railway and to take extra care when approaching the crossing points.

“The safety of park users is of paramount importance to us and we will be working with the operator to look at what we can do to improve safety at these junctions.”