Australian passenger train derails in Sydney after hitting van at level crossing

A commuter train bound for Sydney in Australia was partially derailed after hitting an abandoned van on the tracks on Wednesday morning.

The bus driver was pinned down while others suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

The four-car train struck the abandoned vehicle in Wollongong, located around 90km from Sydney, flipping the front car onto its side and flipping the second.

The train, carrying 10 passengers and the driver, landed sideways behind Kembla Grange station.

The driver was rescued by firefighters after being stranded for more than an hour. The driver, along with four other injured people in the vehicle, were taken to hospital in Wollongong.

The derailment came at a time when the New South Wales (NSW) rail network is already hit by a strike over an alleged privatization bid, affecting up to 70% of trains.

NSW Police Superintendent Craig Ireland said it would be a “massive recovery operation” and cause disruption to public transport to get this back on track.

“I was talking to some of the rail workers there and when they see a train in that position they immediately expect fatalities, so I think it’s very lucky no one was hurt,” he said. he told reporters.

A passenger who identified himself as Nick said 2 GB Radio he was lucky not to have been hurt. “It was like being on a trampoline. I just bounce up and down,” he said.

The fire and rescue team, in a statement, said they exercised extreme caution due to the potential for high-voltage, live electricity above and below the train.

“Crews used special rescue equipment to extract the 40-year-old train driver, who was suffering from back pain,” they said.

Although some trains between Wollongong and Waterfall are still running, buses may replace trains on some routes.

“A shuttle train service operates in both directions between Albion Park and Kiama,” NSW TrainLink South tweeted.

‘Buses are on site providing an alternate service between Wollongong and Albion Park in both directions,’ he added.

Police have established a crime scene and are investigating the incident.

Jose P. Rogers