From the Darlington & Stockton Times of February 28, 1931

“NORTHALLERTON crossing thrill”, said the D&S Times’ headline 90 years ago this week, although it is difficult to say whether Charles Turnbull and his four-year-old daughter, Dorothy, were really thrilled when a goods train reversed into their car.

It happened at the crossing to the north of the town centre as Mr Turnbull and his sister, Miss Turnbull, plus Dorothy were taking produce from Church Hill Farm at Birkby into market.

As they approached the gates, they were shut to allow a goods train from Yarm to travel south into the goods station which used to be where Sainsburys is now. Then the gates swung open to allow the three cars in front of the Turnbulls to cross.

However, as their car reached the tracks, the goods train decided to reverse. “It crashed through the gate on the motorist’s near side and struck the car,” said the D&S. “The vehicle was then carried along by the train through the opposite gate and, a few yards further on, the coach of the car parted company with its chassis and the occupants were flung out on to the side of the line.”

The train dragged the remains of the car another 40 yards before coming to a halt.

The D&S Times headline from February 28, 1931

The D&S Times' headline from February 28, 1931

Mr Turnbull and Dorothy were completely unharmed and his sister, whose first name was never revealed, suffered only minor cuts.

“Mr Turnbull’s market provisions in the back of the car had included eggs, and there was a basket of live poultry,” said the D&S. “The eggs were broken and scattered all over the line, but none of the fowls was harmed.”

The Turnbulls were soon allowed to go on their way although traffic on both road and rail was badly affected because the tracks at the crossing had been damaged.