An investigation has been launched after a train collided with a vehicle in Railton south of Devonport in the early hours of this morning.
Police say the train hit the vehicle, which is thought to have been abandoned after it became stuck on the track, at around 3:20am at Youngmans Road.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the incident, which did not involve a level crossing.
TasRail, the state-owned rail company in Tasmania, has called on motorists to be responsible when driving around railway tracks.
TasRail CEO Steven Dietrich emphasised that trains ‘cannot swerve’ and take a long time to stop, so there is very little chance of avoiding a collision when something is on the track.
“Our driver stepped out of that train not knowing what they were going to find,” Dietrich said.
He added that using the railway corridor as a shortcut, whether in a vehicle or on foot, was a “foolish numbers game” and not worth the risk.
“Don’t do it. It’s not worth it, no matter where you are. It is illegal. Our timetables change. Your vehicle could get stuck. You could be injured. You just don’t know what is going to happen,” Dietrich warned.
Devonport Inspector John King has said that initial investigations suggest the driver and their passenger had abandoned the vehicle after it became stuck on the track.
He added that one of the individuals had then fallen in bushland about 100 meters away, injuring their ankle, and both had to be taken to the hospital.
“It is incredibly lucky that no one was seriously injured in this incident, and we are using this as an example to others about the importance of rail safety,” said Inspector King.
Police have called on all road users to be vigilant when approaching railway tracks, reminding them to stop, look both ways, and listen.
They also emphasised that trains always have the right of way and that if a vehicle breaks down on a track, everyone should get out quickly and move away from the tracks, even if there are no trains in sight.
Further investigations into the incident are being conducted by TasRail and a report will be prepared for the Office of National Rail Safety Regulator.