Jeff relives lucky escape

JEFF Martin was about 300 metres from home when his ute collided with a goods train on Wednesday night.

By the time I saw the train I wasn't very far off the railway line. - Jeff Martin

The Inglewood resident had just finished watering his tomatoes and was about to call it a day when the train hit the back of his ute on Southey Street.

Mr Martin walked away without a scratch but said it had given him the shock of his life.

The impact of the collision caused his ute to spin around a few times and buckled the tray.

Mr Martin relived the experience on Thursday as he showed the Bendigo Advertiser the railway crossing and the tyre marks his ute left on the road.

"By the time I saw the train I wasn't very far off the railway line," he said.

"I've hit my brakes and I've skidded a little bit.

"I was trying to see if I was going to pull up before the railway line and the train's still coming and I thought, 'Gee, I'm going to end up too close,' so I planted it again and that's when it got me."

Mr Martin said he was not speeding and he had checked both ways but the intersection has poor viability.

"It's a dangerous crossing," he said.

"Fancy having trees like that there."

Mr Martin pointed to trees that he said made it difficult to see while his father-in-law Enzo Scafati walked to a point on the road, over the give-way mark, where a vehicle would have to pull-up to see any oncoming trains.

Mr Scafati owns the Empire Hotel in Inglewood and, on the back of Mr Martin's near miss, is busy campaigning for something to be done about the railway crossing.

"It's just got the give-way sign and it can be pretty hard to see at dusk," he said.

"We don't want gates, we just want lights.

"And the trees make it hard.

"The train was here on Wednesday night for a couple of hours, they blocked it off, and the railway people were here the next morning.

"I was hoping they'd cut the trees down, you just can't see."

Mr Martin's wife Julie was standing in her frontyard on Wednesday night when the train collided with her husband's ute.

"I heard it from my house, I was out the front and I heard a bang," she said.

"I heard the train and a I heard a few quick horns and then I heard the bang.

"I thought it sounded like someone had hit the train.

"Then I thought it could have just been the carriages rattling but then he rang and said the trains just hit me and I went straight up.

"The kids were just freaking out and I said he was alright, he'd spoken to me and everything was fine.

"We're just glad he's okay but something needs to be done about the crossing."

VicRoads was contacted for comment but said it was a "local road" and a matter for local council. The Bendigo Advertiser attempted to contact a spokesperson for the Loddon Shire Council.

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