Spot is 'notorious for near misses'
A freight train that collided with a car in Tararua was already 10 metres over a "notorious" crossing when the car bounced off it.
The driver of the car, a middle-aged woman, was taken to Palmerston North Hospital with serious injuries after the crash at the crossing of Franklin Rd near Woodville about 4.35pm yesterday. She remains in hospital today in a stable condition.
The woman was cut from the car by members of the Woodville Volunteer Fire Brigade after the front of the Toyota bounced off the train and spun around in the force of the collision, Senior Sergeant Kris Burbery from Central District Highway Patrol said.
The woman's husband, who was the sole passenger in the vehicle, was uninjured.
The east-bound train was carrying a load of pulp when the north-bound car collided with it on its right-hand side, Mr Burbery said.
The driver brought the train to a stop over the crossing on Troup Rd.
The Toyota, which was fortunate not to have been dragged along the tracks by the train, came to a stop on grass close to the eastern side of the road.
Public access across both crossings was closed for about an hour.
Neighbour Alan Henderson said the crossing, which has signs but no lights or barrier arms, was difficult to negotiate in a car.
"It's been notorious for near misses for a long time," he said.
The elevated grass bank on the left-hand side of the road by the crossing was a hazard, Mr Henderson said.
"You are not so bad in a truck or a four-wheel drive but in a car, it is genuinely hard to see if anything is coming.
"Just about anyone that has lived on this road for any length of time has had a close call."
Mr Burbery said the cause of the crash would be investigated and it was too early to speculate over things like the state of the crossing.
KiwiRail communications spokeswoman Kimberley Brady said they would be investigating the collision, in line with company policy.
It was a timely reminder to the public to stay alert at rail crossings, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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