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The drivers of a cargo train could have been killed when Matthew Barrett and a mate left their 1985 Ford Telstar on the tracks at Langwarrin, a court heard today.
The train weighing 1816 tonnes crashed into the car and the accident caused widespread delays for rail commuters.
Barrett, 24, of Blind Bight, pleaded guilty today to one count of reckless conduct endangering serious injury. The maximum penalty is five years' jail. He received a 12-month community corrections order.
He had been celebrating winning his local pub's pool competition on December 14 when his friend, Christopher Oscuro, 21, of Pakenham, offered to give him a lift home at about 1.30am, Melbourne Magistrates Court was told.
But prosecutor Simon Zebrowski said Oscuro instead drove to a construction site at Golf Links Road where Oscuro moved security fencing to get access.
Mr Zebrowski told the court Oscuro manipulated the ignition of a 35-tonne excavator to get it started and used it to push over a six-tonne loader while Barrett stayed in the car.
"Oscuro has further used the excavator to pick up and put down a three-tonne container that was located next to the site office," the prosecutor said.
"Oscuro has continued to use the 35-tonne excavator to push the portable site office into a water drain-off area."
Mr Zebrowski said Oscuro then set fire to the excavator and loader before driving off in the Telstar after being disturbed by a security guard.
Oscuro drove at speeds of up to 160km/h along the dirt road of Peninsula Link Freeway and then up an embankment to the nearby Frankston-Stony Point railway line.
"Oscuro has travelled adjacent to the railway line for 200 metres before the vehicle stalled and become wedged on the railway track," Mr Zebrowski said.
Both men attempted to push the car off the tracks without success and ran off.
They hid in nearby bushes as police and the Country Fire Authority arrived to put out the fire before walking away and catching a taxi at 2.30am.
Mr Zebrowski said neither man made any attempt to notify authorities that their car had been abandoned on the tracks.
"At approximately 4am a cargo train, weighing 1816 tonnes, has collided with the vehicle ... placing the locomotive operators at serious risk of death or injury," he said.
"The collision further impacted the railway network through the cancellation of scheduled services."
Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge stood the matter down to later today so Barrett could be assessed for a community corrections order.
Mr Zebrowski said Oscuro had made full admissions but his case had yet to be finalised.
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