A woman’s life was on the line after her car bounced off a wall and careered 30ft onto railway tracks in Saltaire.

Witnesses told of how a blue Vauxhall had been driven into a car park at Salts Mill via the 5mph Ashley Road when it cannoned off a wall, “flew through the air” and slammed through a mesh wire fence.

It then plunged onto the tracks before coming to rest at a slight angle across the ground between the rail lines, but overhanging both tracks.

A male security guard from the mill, Nick Morris, said he could not get through to the emergency services, so he scrambled over the damaged fence and sprinted towards Shipley alongside the tracks to warn oncoming trains.

His colleague, James Nevison, ran in the opposite direction to the nearby Saltaire train station and instructed people awaiting a train to ensure it did not leave the platform. Returning to Salts Mill to try once again to contact the police, he saw the 11.37am train from Skipton to Bradford Forster Square approaching and he ran back to Saltaire station to alert its driver.

Mr Morris said: “You can’t let someone get killed can you? It’s just part of the job.”

The woman was rescued from the car by members of the public, including Malcolm Gray, of Carlton Antiques, a shop inside the mill.

Police and an ambulance were called and the woman, who was believed to be visiting a friend at Salts Mill diner, was taken to hospital for checks.

British Transport Police were informed of the incident and a flatbed lorry was summoned to remove the vehicle from the line. The operation lasted around two hours and bus services replaced train journeys.

Eyewitness Mr Gray said: “I was just unloading some furniture to take up to my shop when I heard a bang. I turned round and saw a car flying through the air and hit the railway line.”

He said he joined people assisting the woman from the driver’s side.

“I asked her what had happened and she said she must have passed out.”

The woman, who was middle-aged, was taken into the nearby All Terrain Cycles shop to await an ambulance which arrived about 45 minutes after the incident.

James Day, of All Terrain, said: “A lady driving into the car park blacked out, bounced off our wall, through the fence and onto the railway line.

“She was a bit shocked but unhurt.”

A police spokesman confirmed they were called to the scene of the incident at noon. The car was eventually recovered at 1.45pm. Network Rail staff checked the tracks for evidence of any damage caused by the impact of the car.