A woman came inches from death after ignoring closed barriers at a level crossing in Waterbeach.

Video footage released by British Transport Police shows the woman about to cycle across the tracks before suddenly applying the breaks and pulling her bike backwards, a split second before a speeding train passes.

Network Rail described the incident as one of the closest near misses they had ever seen and the train driver was forced to apply the emergency break.

Officers have released the footage of the incident, which took place at Waterbeach level crossing on Thursday, 12 September, in a bid to identify the woman and highlight the dangers of misusing level crossings.

PC Matt Mildinhall, the investigating officer, said: "The footage shows a woman approach the crossing around 6.30pm as the barriers are down.

"She passes through the barriers and onto the line before breaking hard, just seconds before a train passes through."

Over 100 trains a day travel through Waterbeach level crossing, reaching speeds of up to 75mph.

Enquiries are ongoing to identify the woman and officers are appealing for any information about the incident.

The footage comes after Network Rail recently launched its latest safety campaign called Track Tests, which revealed almost third of people think they would hear a train in time to move out of the way.

Richard Schofield, Network Rail route managing director, said: "This is one of the closest incidents of near miss we've seen. The person using the crossing not only didn't hear the train but ignored the warning lights and barriers, putting her life, the lives of passengers and the train driver in danger.

"Warning systems at level crossings are there for a reason, to protect users from the railway. I hope the release of this footage will highlight the importance of following the safety advice at level crossings."

Jay Thompson, Greater Anglia's head of safety said: "Not only was this incident very traumatic for the driver, but it could have resulted in the cyclist being killed. It is really important that everyone follows the safety instructions at level crossings."

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 quoting background reference B8/LNA of 25/09/2013.