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A truck driver was unable to see an approaching passenger train before the two vehicles collided at a crossing in regional Victoria.
Eighteen passengers and two crew suffered injuries, some serious and including broken bones, in the July 2016 crash in which the Warrnambool-bound V/Line service was travelling at 95km/h.
The cabin of the semi-trailer truck, carrying a 26-tonne load of stock feed, was almost completely crushed. The train, comprising a locomotive and four passenger cars, derailed.
In a report published on Friday, Australia's transport safety investigator found that the truck driver, despite stopping at the crossing, was unable to see the approaching train.
"His view along the track was restricted due to the acute road-to-rail angle and the limited view through the truck passenger-side window," the report read.
Subsequent investigations found there were 35 similar acute angles between public roads and V/Line regional rail lines.
"The locomotive driver reported observing a truck appear from behind a line of trees ... and stop at the level crossing," the report read.
"The truck stopped eight to 10 metres before the track for about three seconds. It then started to move to cross when the train was between 220 and 260 metres from the crossing."
One of the train passengers, Julia Thompson, later described being flung off her seat during the crash.
"It felt like an earthquake. Everything was shaking and rocking," she said.
The 41-year-old truck driver from Ballarat was airlifted to hospital in a serious condition.
Barriers were installed at the Phalps Road level crossing a month later.
This article first appeared on www.news.com.au
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