A truck ploughed into a level crossing barrier and got stuck on the tracks just seconds before a train was due.
Paul Brandreth, 48, ignored red signals warning that the bar was starting to lower.
His yellow skip lorry hit it and got entangled before stopping in the middle of the rails at Chitts Hill, Essex.
Trains were halted while engineers fixed the crossing gear and removed Brandreth’s truck.
Insp Steve Webster, of the British Transport Police, said: ‘Had a train arrived moments sooner, this incident could have potentially had life-threatening consequences for Brandreth, and for any other passengers and drivers on the line.
‘Level crossings must be taken seriously, and I’m pleased to see that careless drivers are being punished for trying to beat the system and causing significant disruption to the network.
‘Have a little patience and wait until it’s safe to cross — it really isn’t worth risking yours and others’ lives just to save a few minutes.’
Brandreth, of Boxted, Essex, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention at Colchester Magistrates’ Court.
He was ordered to pay £545 and given nine points on his driving licence.
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