A 66-year-old local woman has been killed after being hit by a train at a rail crossing in Wendouree.
The fatality occurred at 1.10pm on Thursday on the rail line intersecting Forest Street, near McDonalds and Woolworths.
More than a dozen police vehicles, CFA, ambulance and emergency services personnel responded.
The scene was barricaded in all directions in an effort to deter onlookers. Police were also concerned about keeping the area clear of school children from the nearby schools. Sections of the adjacent Woolworths supermarket car park were also cleared and cordoned off.
Ballarat Police Senior Sergeant Peter McCormick said what they knew was that the woman had “approached the railway line and the train has come through.”
“As a result, a woman has been struck and it has ended up as a fatal accident.” Snr Sgt McCormick said the scene was being processed and a report prepared for the coroner.
Late on Thursday, police said inquiries were continuing in an effort to establish the “actual facts” of what had happened.
Senior Sergeant Peter McCormick said police were still making inquiries as to whether the fatality was an accident or a deliberate act.
“As soon as we finish processing the scene, we should be able to clear and open the area,” he said.
The V/Line train – the 12.26pm Ararat-Southern Cross service – came to a stop a few hundred metres from where the woman was hit.
The train remained on the tracks until the scene was processed and about 57 passengers were offloaded and taken to Ballarat railway station.
We have a number of witnesses who saw the whole thing and, as you can imagine it was a fairly traumatic event for them, so we are working through that slowly.Ballarat Police Senior Sergeant Peter McCormick
V/Line released a statement during the afternoon, saying “there are major disruptions to Wendouree and Ararat services after a person was struck by a train, east of Wendouree Station” and that “delays were expected.”
V/Line coaches replaced Wendouree and Ararat line services for parts of the service and delays were expected and passengers were told coaches would transport passengers between Ballarat and Wendouree.
Passengers delayed for 60 minutes or more in a single V/Line journey can call 1800 800 007 or via the V/Line website with regard to compensation.
Asked if there was an issue with lights at the pedestrian crossing, Snr Sgt McCormick said, “We don’t believe the lights were a factor.”
A V/Line spokesperson said the crossing has barriers, lights and signals and all were “active at the time.”
Police said there had not been any personal belongings or other equipment located on the tracks but they “may consider doing a line search for items associated with the woman.”
Snr Sgt McCormick said they were still keen to talk to witnesses.
“We have a number of witnesses who saw the whole thing and, as you can imagine it was a fairly traumatic event for them, so we are working through that slowly.”
Anyone with information can contact the Ballarat Police Station on (03) 5336 6000 or Crimestoppers.