A signaller did not close a level crossing before a train crashed into a car, dragging it along the tracks, crash investigators have said.

The car was hit at 23mph by a train heading from Saltburn to Nunthorpe at Redcar Central station on May 1.

The driver was injured and the car, a black Suzuki SUV, was seriously damaged.

Pictures and video from the scene show the crumpled bonnet of the car barely hanging on, with the front bumper dragging along the ground after the crash.

An investigation has now been opened by the Rail Accidents Investigation Branch (RAIB), which will look at how the crash happened.

The Northern Echo: Workers pull the car from the train tracks.Workers pull the car from the train tracks. (Image: SWNS)

Confirming the probe RAIB said the level crossing is fitted with lights and barriers which cover the whole road, but “the signaller in this case had not closed the level crossing to road traffic before the train arrived”.

It added: “Before the collision occurred, the driver of the train had been authorised by the signaller to pass a signal which was showing a red, dangerous, aspect.”

The investigation will also look at the actions of the signaller and driver, how staff managed the incident and the signalling and level crossing control system.

No one on the train was injured.

Speaking after the crash, passerby Stanley Binns, 75 - who captured footage of the car’s wreckage - said: “I took the video from the top of a supermarket car park which overlooks the crossing.

“The accident had already happened, people told me it happened about an hour before.

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“They reckoned the crossing light wasn’t working and the driver drove on and the train hit the side of it.

“When I got there you could see the end of the train sticking out.”

Network Rail previously said it would support the RAIB with its investigation.