Couple leap to safety as XPT tears into ute
A CASINO driver survived a collision with a Sydney-bound XPT train without injury yesterday morning.
Police said the 22-year-old man and a passenger were travelling north along Hotham Street in Casino, near the intersection of High Street, at 10.40am.
As the driver attempted a U-turn into a dirt lane, his grey Nissan Navara utility stalled on the railway track, blocking the line.
The young man was struggling to restart the engine without success when he heard the horn of the south-bound XPT bearing down on him.
Both occupants leapt out of the vehicle to safety as the 2000-horsepower train smashed into the four-wheel drive, dragging it about 20 metres along the tracks.
"The XPT driver was able to hit the emergency break in time to substantially reduce speed at the point of collision," said duty officer Insp Dave Driver, from Lismore police.
The 19-tonne engine was travelling at only 5km/h when it hit the utility. The rear left-side of the vehicle was severely damaged, but not written off. The front panels of the train also suffered minor damage.
The Brisbane-Sydney XPT was delayed while waiting for the vehicle to be towed off the tracks, but then continued its trip to Sydney, arriving one-anda-half hours late.
Neither of the occupants of the vehicle required hospital treatment, al- though both were badly shaken.