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Train hits car on West Coast

Last updated 17:24 23/01/2014

COLLISION: The car that was hit by a train at the crossing on Swamp Creek Road, near State Highway 69, about 15 km north of Reefton on the West Coast.

train crash west coast
CRASH LOCATION: A train and car collided near Reefton the West Coast.
Train crash reefton
TRAIN CRASH: An injured woman arrives by rescue helicopter to Christchurch Hospital. Her car was hit by a train near Reefton on the West Coast.

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A woman is seriously injured after her car was hit by a train near Reefton on the West Coast.

A St John spokeswoman said the woman, in her 50s, was flown by rescue helicopter to Christchurch Hospital. She had multiple serious injuries.

It was understood she was the only person in the car.

The collision happend about 1.30pm at the Swamp Creek Rd crossing, 15 km north of Reefton and 10km south of Inangahua. 

Sergeant Sean Judd said it was thought the woman was driving from her house on Swamp Creek Rd, and crossed the tracks to reach State Highway 69.

She was driving a ute and it appeared the south-bound train hit the driver's side of the door.

A KiwiRail spokeswoman said the coal train wa en route to Lyttelton from Westport. It weighed more 2000 tonnes and was about 470 metres long. 

A train that size would take about one kilometre to stop, she said.

Swamp Creek Rd is a rural, unsealed road, with a rail crossing at the intersection of Reefton Highway. The railway runs parallel to the highway.

The crossing had stop signs but no warning bells or barrier arms, she said.

Incidents like this were stressful for train drivers. "It's awful for them." 

Drivers were often stood down and offered support after accidents.

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