Driver has lucky escape after collision with train

A man whose ute and a train collided at a notorious railway crossing near Rakaia yesterday was "extremely lucky", police say.

Police and firefighters were called to a crash between the westbound ute and a northbound train at an uncontrolled railway crossing on Hatfield-Overdale Road about 3pm.

The man in his 20s alerted emergency services to the incident, and was taken to Ashburton Hospital with moderate injuries.

The level crossing, which is controlled by giveway signs, has been the scene of three fatal crashes in the past 20 years.

"He is extremely lucky in this instance. He's driven into the side of the train. How many other people have you heard bounce back from something like that?" Senior Sergeant Grant Russell said.

He would not rule out charges and said inquiries were ongoing.

Rakaia Volunteer Firefighter Brigade firefighter Tyrone Burrowes said firefighters arrived to remove the ute door before the man got out of the vehicle with little help.

Mr Burrowes said firefighters worked to contain farming chemicals on the deck of the ute before it was taken away.

"It was a solid impact. The front of the ute was severely damaged from the train but the cabin stayed intact, the air bags went off too.

"Have you heard the history at that crossing? it just goes to show you need to slow down at these crossings and look both ways," he said.

- By Myles Hume of the Ashburton Guardian

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