Several people were injured when a train derailed after crashing into a stolen car that was abandoned on the railway line south of Sydney.
A train derailed south of Sydney on Wednesday morning after it smashed into an abandoned stolen car that had been parked across the tracks.
The incident occurred in Kembla Grange, near Wollongong.
Twelve people were evacuated from the passenger train, including the driver who was trapped for a short time after the front carriage detached from the rest of the train. The driver and four passengers were taken to hospital.
NSW Police said emergency crews were called to the scene just after 4am.
“Police have been told the four-carriage train struck an unoccupied vehicle that was on the track before the front carriage of the train rolled onto its side,” NSW Police said.
“Subsequent inquiries have revealed the vehicle was stolen earlier today from a home at Flinders.
“Police are investigating how the vehicle came to be abandoned on the train line. Witnesses have told police a male was seen running from the area soon after.”
Trains between Wollongong and Waterfall are still running but buses will replace trains on certain routes, with delays expected.
“A shuttle train service is operating in both directions between Albion Park and Kiama,” NSW TrainLink South tweeted.
“Buses are on site and are operating a replacement service between Wollongong and Albion Park in both directions.”
“Passengers are also advised to allow plenty of extra travel time, listen to announcements and check information displays for service updates,” Transport for NSW said.
Fire and Rescue NSW said a car was hit by the train at the West Dapto Rd intersection.
“Significant damage has been done to overhead wires,” FRNSW said.
A passenger named Mick told 9 News that it felt like a “trampoline” when the train hit the stationary car and passengers were bumping around.
Meanwhile, Sydney’s public transport network is expected to suffer through major disruptions on Wednesday as some train workers get set to walk off the job.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW members will strike over what the union claims is senior management’s refusal to meet with them as they negotiate a new bargaining agreement.
They criticised Transport Minister Andrew Constance for not personally attending any negotiations and management’s refusal to rule out further privatisation of the state’s transport network.
“Last month rail workers were forced to take the step of stopping our train network for the first time in decades, out of sheer desperation at the complete silence and disrespect from the NSW government,” RTBU secretary Alex Claassens said.
“Unbelievably, the silence and disrespect has continued.”
Transport for NSW said that negotiations were being carried out in “good faith” but added that commuters could expect major disruptions on Wednesday.
The workers are refusing to operate trains on the Sydney Train and NSW TrainLink network, causing some services to be cancelled and others to operate on a reduced timetable.
Some suburban lines will operate every 30 minutes and will stop at every station, meaning extra travel time will be needed.
Buses will replace trains between Bankstown and Lidcombe stations, while services on the Bankstown Line between Liverpool and the CBD will run at a reduced frequency.
Buses will be added to run alongside train services between Macarthur and Campbelltown, between Wollongong and Thirroul as well as between Schofields and Tallawong.
Some suburban lines and NSW TrainLink Intercity services will run on reduced timetables.
Transport for NSW said commuters should consider alternative arrangements, including taxis or rideshare or finding alternative routes.
– additional reporting by Steve Zemek
Originally published as Train derails after hitting stolen car at Kembla Grange near Wollongong