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PASSENGERS on a city-bound peak hour train had a close call yesterday when a rail car was hit by a protruding piece of metal from a passing freight train.
About 100 people were on a TransAdelaide train which was slightly damaged in the 8.15am incident at Eden Hills.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating how the piece of sheet metal came loose and protruded from a container on a Pacific National train.
The metal scraped the side of the TransAdelaide carriage, denting it and smashing off several hand rails.
The train continued to Adelaide, but buses were sent to replace the service until 10.45am, when TransAdelaide was sure its trains could pass safely.
About the same time, the Pacific National train's load was secured and it continued on to the Adelaide Freight Terminal.
No one was injured and the company immediately launched an investigation into the incident.
TransAdelaide general manager Bill Watson said he would seek legal advice on whether Pacific National and the track operator, the Australian Rail Track Corporation, were liable for damages. He said it appeared the freight train's load was "not stowed correctly".
But suggestions that passengers could have been at risk were no more than "speculation".
"There's a substantial amount of separation between the Pacific National tracks and TransAdelaide tracks precisely to stop any collisions like that," he said.
TransAdelaide regretted the inconvenience caused to later passengers, but some of the stations were difficult for buses to get to.
The Liberal member for Davenport, Iain Evans, said Hills residents were still waiting for the results of an inquiry into a derailment at Glenalta last November.
"The people in the Mitcham Hills deserve some answers from the authorities as to what is happening with the freight line running through the Hills," he said.
"If this steel had been another half a metre further there would have been people that would have been killed."
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