Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Racing to a train

Hi everyone,

Today had a big gulp of unexpected good news.  About midday I was working on a talk that I'm giving tomorrow for a club over in Tatura when my pager started the constant high-pitched howl it makes when we're being called out to a rescue.  It was one of those jobs you usually class as 'nightmare scenario', a car versus train accident.  I was duty officer, so I called dispatch and acknowledged the job, and then sent a message asking all available members to turn out.  The accident was closer to me than the SES shed, so I decided to go there straight from home.

The good news I mentioned took the form of a follow-up pager message advising that nobody was trapped, but requesting that SES attend anyway, presumably in case further assistance was required.  I crossed paths with our truck on the way and hopped aboard.

In line with SES policy, I don't feel I should talk here about the scene and so on here.  The account offered by the Shepparton News says that -
Police, CFA, Ambulance and SES services attended a level crossing on Pogue Rd in Toolamba after the driver of a vehicle hit a V/Line passenger train on the Shepparton-Seymour line at around 12 noon.  Paramedics said the male driver of the vehicle was lucky to be alive.  He was treated on scene for minor injuries and was taken to the Goulburn Valley Hospital.  CFA incident controller Colin James said all the passengers on the train escaped without injury.  Passengers told The News that they heard a loud bang and saw debris flying everywhere.
Two of our members had gone direct to scene, but the fire brigade was already smoothly evacuating passengers from the train.  Once we'd checked and confirmed that there was nothing we could do to add value, we fired up the truck and returned to the shed.  At some point in this process, the News was interviewing passengers from the train.

It always feels like a bit of an anticlimax when you've gone like a bat out of hell driven at a safe and legal speed to get to the scene of an accident and found you're not needed.  In this case especially I don't mind at all.  Much better a smashed car and a dinged train and a somewhat injured driver than that a family somewhere has to arrange a funeral.

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