Truck cut in half by train in Ashburton

By Sue Newman of the Ashburton Guardian -

A truck was cut in half and debris scattered for 500 metres when it was hit by a train at a rail crossing in Ashburton this morning.

The southbound train and the truck collided at the railway crossing on Northpark Rd about 9am.

While the truck was extensively damaged, the driver climbed out of the wreckage relatively unharmed. The train was also extensively damaged and the driver was forced to climb out a window.

A resident living near the crossing said she witnessed near misses almost every day on the crossing.

"Every time we have visitors I make sure to tell them to take care at that crossing."

In 2002 Coroner Laurence Cooney called for an urgent inquiry into its safety during an inquest into the death of a motorist at the site.

He called for safety measures to be urgently investigated. There were two earlier crashes at the crossing, in 1982 and 1990, and many close calls.

The crossing is marked only by a give way sign and does not have signals or barrier arms.

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