Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Story updated 7.10am Thursday 17 August with contributions from David Walker

A man has died after the XPLORER train from Sydney crashed into a ute on a level crossing at Quirindi.

Emergency services were called to the level crossing at Callaghans Lane, 5km south of Quirindi, about 2.45pm (Wednesday 16 August 2023), responding to reports the northbound train had struck a ute.

NSW Ambulance paramedics attended but the driver of the ute died at the scene. The New England Times has confirmed the 77 year old man was a local, but his name has not yet been released.

Officers attached to Oxley Police District established a crime scene and commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash, and a report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner. Eye witness reports from passengers on the train differ as to whether the car was stopped at the crossing or was still moving in what has been described as a horrific and shocking scene.

No one on the train was physically injured, including the driver and crew of the train. However, all 120 passengers were held on the train for up to five hours with little information and no food provided. A number took to social media to express their frustrations.

Some of the Facebook comments from passengers on the train posted during the incident.

A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said NSW TrainLink staff provided free drinks (tea, coffee and water) and the buffet remained open on the train for food purchases throughout.

“Transport for NSW extends its thoughts to those impacted by this incident,” the spokesperson said.  

Passengers travelling home on both the Moree and Armidale services were significantly delayed, with buses arriving at the accident site to transport them home at around 7.30pm, and some not getting home until midnight.

Callaghan’s Lane was closed for most of the night from the Kamilaroi Highway, with some delays for motorists on the highway as they passed the accident site.

A disruption alert was posted on the NSW Trainlink site late last night advising there was delays to the service, but that notice has disappeared this morning. The spokesperson for Transport NSW said there are no delays to rail services as a result of yesterday’s incident. The North West Xplorer train service to Sydney has been replaced by coach for the entire journey as a replacement crew was unable to be flown in from Sydney to Tamworth in time to crew that service. The Sydney to Armidale/Moree service is running as scheduled.

Top image: photo from inside the train where passengers were held for five hours posted to Facebook (Princess Codie)

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