A BALLARAT driver who almost collided with a passenger train after hitting a boom gate at Millers Road yesterday told police he didn't see the gate come down.
The 5.20pm V/Line service from Ballarat to Maryborough was travelling at about 80km/h when the train driver was forced to hit the emergency brake to avoid a collision.
No passengers were injured.
Ballarat Sergeant Travis Barber said the motorist, a 40-year-old Ballarat man, was extremely lucky to walk away with just minor damage to his car, after smashing through a lowered boom gate at the Invermay level crossing.
Sergeant Barber said the man was driving east along Millers Road when he collided with the gate, which was in working order with the warning lights activated.
"For a train that size to stop, he's seen the vehicle pretty early on," Sergeant Barber said.
"He hit the emergency brakes and hasn't collided with anything."
Sergeant Barber said there was minor damage to the car and superficial damage to the train where the boom gate had dragged along its side.
He said it was a timely reminder for people to pay attention when approaching rail crossings.
"In this situation the male driver is extremely lucky," he said.
"It could have been a lot worse than it was."
He said police had spoken to the driver and were still investigating the incident.
A V/Line spokesperson said passengers on board the train were taken to Maryborough by bus.
Paramedics were called to the scene at 6.05pm but their services were not required.
"They got everyone off the train and the person in the car was out and walking around as well," an Ambulance Victoria spokesperson said.
People who fail to stop or give way at a level crossing or unlawfully enter a crossing when the boom gates are down or lights are flashing can receive a $704 fine and lose four demerit points from their licence.