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A middle-aged man was shaken but unhurt when the ute he was driving was struck by a train on the southern outskirts of Invercargill yesterday.
The man, the only occupant of the vehicle, was leaving the Lake St industrial subdivision at Clifton, about 3.15pm when the incident happened.
The front of his vehicle was on the crossing when a train heading north towards Invercargill hit it, Senior Constable Fenton Herrick, of Invercargill, said.
''The ute bounced back and spun around. It has substantial damage. The driver was pretty lucky. Another metre on to the crossing and the train would have struck the driver's door.''
Snr Const Herrick said the man was ''pretty shaken up, but uninjured''.
The crossing is controlled by give-way signs.
Snr Const Herrick said it was too early to say whether the man would face any charges.
The train, which was undamaged, came to a halt about 150m further along the track, its container-carrying wagons blocking the Lake St crossing.
KiwiRail staff arrived quickly at the scene and Snr Const Herrick said the two drivers in the cab were replaced so the train could continue its journey about 4.15pm.
With the train gone, a stream of vehicles was able to enter and exit the subdivision, home to several private businesses as well as the Invercargill City Council dog pound and sewage treatment works.