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FOUR Bendigo teachers have been hailed as heroes for their actions following a collision between a commuter train and a maintenance truck at Elphinstone on Friday.
RECOGNISED: Teachers Linda Lyons, left, Leanne Lamb, Jason Betson and Shae George.
The teachers helped safely evacuate more than 130 passengers from the train and administered basic first aid to the injured following the crash on the Melbourne-bound train about 10 am.
Their actions have been praised by V/Line commuters, some who phoned the Advertiser to acknowledge them.
The four Bendigo Senior Secondary College teachers were on their way to Herald Sun Teacher of the Year Team awards interviews when the crash occurred. Jason Betson, Shae George, Leanne Lamb and Linda Lyons had chosen to travel by train to the interview to discuss what they would say after being short-listed for outstanding teamwork.
However, the discussions were cut short when the train slammed into a maintenance truck which had been parked on the tracks.
Ms George recalled a large bang and jolt as the train struck.
She said the train continued forward for about a kilometre down the track after the impact, before coming to a halt.
Trained in first aid, Ms George and Mr Betson approached the conductor to see what they could do before jumping from the train to see if anyone was hurt.
Mr Betson said he noticed the truck and locomotive were on fire and returned to the carriage to grab a fire extinguisher to help the driver.
The driver had been trying to extinguish the blaze despite bleeding from large gash on his head
The pair helped to treat the driver before returning to the train once the fire took hold." We were worried it would explode," Mr Betson said. "We just tried to keep them calm and convince them they could come back for their luggage."
Mr Betson said they didn't think of their actions as heroic.
"We just wanted to make sure everyone was okay," he said.
Ms Lyons also acknowledged the conductors' efforts after the crash.
"They were great in trying to keep everyone calm and safe," she said.
A V/Line spokesperson yesterday thanked the teachers for their help.
Rural Press Ltd
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