NT Police said the driver of the Genesee and Wyoming freight train was in shock after a collision with a light vehicle near Katherine at 1am this morning.
NT Police duty superintendent Louise Jorgensen said it looked as if the vehicle’s driver had attempted to cross rail tracks where there was no level crossing.
Katherine Police commander Bruce Porter said the initial investigations had determined a Toyota Hi Lux 4wd was attempting to traverse the railway tracks just west of the town.
“There is no rail crossing at this location and the vehicle has become stuck on the lines,” he said.
“Despite attempting to warn the oncoming train with torches, the fully loaded train was unable to stop in time and has crashed into the vehicle before dragging it approximately 500 metres.
“The vehicle and train have come to a stop just past to the high level bridge over the Katherine River.
“At this stage engineers are inspecting any damage to the tracks, the train and the bridge and attempts to move the train are likely to occur later this morning.
Commander Porter said this incident was a timely reminder to communities that have rail lines nearby to be aware of the hazards.
“It is very fortunate in this instance that no one was seriously injured or killed.
“Railway tracks should only be crossed at designated crossing areas and with extreme caution at all times when doing so.”
The 23 year old driver of the four wheel drive has been interviewed by police.
Although no injuries were reported, it is understood the train driver is in hospital.
Genesee and Wyoming managing director Greg Pauline said he was relieved that nobody was injured, but that the worst thing for the driver of the train was not knowing if anyone was in the vehicle.
The wreck of the vehicle was jammed under the train and pushed over the Katherine River high level bridge, about a kilometre from the site of impact.
The train was heading from the Bootu Creek manganese mine to port in Darwin.
Images: NT Police