Unanderra: train and car collide at level crossing

Emergency services at the scene in Unanderra where a car and train have collided. Picture: ADAM McLEANTrain and car accident at Unanderra: photosA man and woman had a ‘‘miraculous’’ escape after their car collided with a train at a Unanderra level crossing on Monday morning.

The car was travelling south when it collided with the northbound commuter train at the level crossing on the Princes Highway, 400 metres south of the Nolan Street intersection.

The accident happened shortly before 8am.

After the impact, the train dragged the car for at least 20 metres after the collision.

Duty commander Fire and Rescue Illawarra Inspector John Hawes described the pair’s escape as ‘‘miraculous’’ given the damage to the car.

‘‘The car was impacted with the front of the train to the windscreen,’’ Insp Hawes said.

‘‘The steering column was squashed into the drivers seat.’’

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But he said neither the male driver or female passenger were injured, aside from suffering some shock.

At this stage it is unclear whether the driver and passenger were inside the car at the time of the collision.

Insp Hawes said there were about 40 people on the commuter train, and they also escaped injury.

Sydney Trains organised buses so the passengers could continue their journey.

Insp Hawes said it took about an hour to remove the cars, which was a write-off, from under the train.

‘‘We were under the guidance of Sydney Trains because we didn’t want to incur further damage to the train if it could be avoided,’’ Insp Hawes said.

After some ‘‘cutting and pushing’’ they were able to use a tow-truck to pull the car free.

The train was moved to a rail siding at Unanderra where Sydney Trains staff could further assess the damage.

The accident caused chaos for road and rail commuters.

The train had stopped across the road, blocking all four lanes of the Princes Highway for almost two hours.

Police had set up diversions to move motorists around the accident site.

The South Coast line was partially closed in both directions between Unanderra and Dapto.

Southbound passengers travelling beyond Unanderra had to change at Wollongong for a bus service.

Four bus services operating in the area were also affected, with five bus stops being missed as the buses were diverted along Nolan Street and Orange Grove Avenue.

Illawarra Mercury

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