POLICE have this afternoon named Thomas Pizzey as the man killed when a freight train hit a car north of Oxford.

Mr Pizzey, 85, was killed at the Sandy Lane level crossing between Yarnton and Kidlington when the Renault Kangoo he was a passenger in was hit by a Freightliner train just before 3.40pm.

He was from Banbury.

The 78-year-old driver, who has not been named publicly by police, was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford with minor injuries and is in a stable condition.

It has also emerged this afternoon that members of the public came to the stricken pair's aid before emergency services arrived at the crash scene.

Mr Pizzey’s niece Linda Mogford said: "My Uncle Tom was a kind, generous and gentle man and this incident has come as a great shock to all the family. 

"We would like to thank everyone for their kind messages of support at this very difficult and sad time and extend our sympathies to those who knew Tom in Banbury.

"He will be greatly missed by his family and those who loved him and we would ask for privacy to grieve and come to terms with our loss."

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Taylor, of British Transport Police, said: "The investigation into last night’s incident continues and I’d urge anyone who was at the crossing at the time or who has information to get in touch.

"Detectives will be working tirelessly to establish the full circumstances into exactly what took place, including how the car came to be on the tracks.

"I’d also like to pass my thanks to the members of the public who tended to Mr Pizzey and the driver following the incident before police arrival and the local community for their cooperation and patience on Wednesday evening."

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch and the Office of Rail Regulation have been informed, and officers will continue to prepare a file for the coroner.

Man killed when car is hit by train