Woman and three children killed as train smashes into car at level crossing in France

A woman and three children have died after their vehicle was hit by a train at a level crossing in France.

Woman and three children killed as train smashes into car at level crossing in France
Not all level crossings in France have barriers. Photo: AFP

Four other people were slightly injured in the crash, which happened on Monday morning near Avenay-Val-d'Or, in the Marne region of north east France.

The TER local train from Epernay collided with the car on a level crossing.

READ ALSO Why are level crossings so dangerous in France?

Four passengers on the train were slightly injured in the collision while the driver is reported to be uninjured but extremely shocked.

A psychological support unit has been set up by the Marne prefecture at the Avenay-Val-d'Or festival hall.

Every year hundreds of people in France are injured at levels crossings, and dozens more lose their lives.

In all, France has over 15,000 level crossings on its rail network, some of which are considered more dangerous than others. While over 10,000 have automatic barriers and warning lights, not all do.

French rail operator SNCF is working on upgrading the unfenced crossings, but said that many of the crashes are caused by drivers ignoring warnings and trying to 'dodge' the barriers.

It is not clear whether the Avenay-Val-d'Or crossing was gated and an investigation into the crash has now been launched.

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Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.