A Landrover driver who was killed when he was hit by a train on a level crossing had been given the all clear to drive over the track by a railway signalman, a coroner heard today.

Farmer Colin Cameron, 60, of Bisley rd, Stroud, Glos, died on February 7 last year as he used the  unmanned crossing at Frampton Mansell, nr Cirencester, Gloucestershire. One of his dogs also died.

Today Gloucestershire coroner Katie Skerrett held a pre-inquest hearing to discuss with lawyers what issues the jury will have to consider when the full inquest is held on a date to be fixed between April and June this year.

During today's hearing it emerged that Mr Cameron had stopped at the crossing and spoken on the phone to the nearest signalman.

He allegedly told the signalman that a train had passed by not long before. He was then allegedly told it was clear for him to drive across - but was then hit by an inter-city express and killed.

The coroner said it appeared to her that the key issues for the jury would be what Mr Cameron told the signalman about a train having passed recently and the signalman's reliance on that information when giving the go ahead to cross.

Barrister Sarah Le Fevre, representing Mr Cameron's family, told the coroner "Users (of the crossing) cannot be left to their own devices and are necessarily reliant on instructions given by Network Rail's signaller.

"There were three pieces of information which were available to the signaller or should have been available to him.

"If he had applied them he would have known that there was a train in the immediate approach to the crossing.

"One of those pieces of information was that the train itself had stopped at a red signal and had restarted upon the permission of this same signal box.

"That train could not have travelled that distance before Colin got there and asked for permission to cross.

"Secondly, there are two different light systems in the signal box, a red light system and a white light system. The red light system was working and it showed the signaller which bit of track the train was within.  It would have shown that the train which hit Colin was within a relatively short section of railway that took 4 minutes to traverse from one end to the other.

"That information was known in the signal box.

"The white light system was out of action at the time of the accident. It was repaired immediately after the accident.

"It would have shown the signaller whether the train was in or not in the Sapperton Long Tunnel, from which it comes out just 30 yards before this crossing.

"We say that there were three pieces of information that either were or could and should have been available to the signaller so as to properly inform Colin that it would not be safe for him to cross when the instruction was given for him to cross.

"He would have had information that would have told him (the signalman) for sure that there was a train coming."

The coroner said "We will have to focus on what was said between Colin and the signalman; what Colin said from his point of view.

"Also, we will look at the issue of what information was available to the signaller. And also the appropriateness of the signaller's response.

"Was it appropriate for him to be relying on information provided by the user, Colin."

The coroner also discussed with Ms Le Fevre and Network Rail's lawyer, Richard Crockford, what witnesses should be called to give evidence at the inquest.

She said that while it is not mandatory for her to empanel a jury to hear the case she had decided to do so. Ms Le Febre had submitted that a jury would be mandatory because the death occurred in a working environment.

The coroner stressede that the inquest would not be considering the safety or otherwise of such crossings in general. It would focus on the specific incident that day.

Witnesses would include the train driver and also Katie Rowan, who had been a passenger in Mr Cameron's vehicle but was standing outside it when the accident happened, she said.

A post-mortem into Mr Cameron's death has revealed he died from multiple injuries.

After the tragedy the vice chairman of Sapperton and Frampton Mansell parish council Charles Houldsworth called for extra safety precautions at the crossing.

Following the death of motorcyclist Paul Martin in 2014 safety recommendations made by investigators were put into operation but Mr Houldsworth says more is needed to prevent further tragedies.

At today's hearing Mr Crockford told the coroner that the crossing is one of many of its kind that Network Rail would like to close if legally possible.

Such unmanned crossings were installed in the mid 19th century to preserve the rights of way across the railway when it was being built, he said.

The Sapperton crossing had been used for a trial of a new system whereby there would be a red light showing on the crossing at all times and a driver would have to get out and press a button,whereupon the light would turn green if it was safe to cross, he said.

However, that had not been adopted because it was 'found not to have the safety integrity required.'