The only warning are the railway crossing street signs and this story comes from the Footplate Padre's book “Tales of the Footplate” article titled, Semi-Trailer Accident, on page 111.
The train driver's would invariably slow down to a crawl and sneak tentatively across the highway as it was such a well known trouble spot.
On the this day however, on a pick-up slow goods train from Parkes, with a 48 Class diesel at the front and travelling on the western side where the on-coming traffic was not visible due to the building line, the driver and fireman heard a semi-trailer coming.
The driver stopped his train and was simply waiting for the semi-trailer to come into view, so as to let it through.
As the truckie came down this highway, and likewise, unable to see whether a train was coming due to the building line, he finally spotted the diesel and the train and he obviously thought it was moving.
The truckie slammed on his brakes and the semi-trailer went into a skid. With a culvert on either side of the line, the truck hit the culvert which took off the truck's sump, the semi continued out of control and ended up-a-gum-tree near the railway line. Naturally, the semi-trailer's prime mover was severely damaged.
The shaken truckie scrambled out and headed straight for the locomotive driver perched up in his 48 Class cabin. One might imagine the scene. The hapless train driver simply watched all this happen and the consequences for the semi-trailer and truckie were very severe.
“Can't you …. stop at the crossing?” the truckie roared! The loco driver replied, as calmly as he possibly could, in these awkward circumstances, “Mate, we're not even on the crossing, and we're stopped”!
Thereupon the truckie took his hat and threw it on the ground, and incessantly stomped on it. Then he took off his sunglasses and did likewise to them.
The fireman, rather amused by all this, and being considerably larger in size than both the truckie and loco driver put together, walked out onto the footplate of the 48 Class, leaned over the railing, and causally asked, “What's up mate? Couldn't ya stop?”
The frustration of Jonah
Footplate Padre Mark Tronson says of this story, that it has similarities with Jonah when he ran away from God's call and boarded a ship. Having thought he's escaped from God, a great storm arose and Jonah instinctively knew in his heart that he was the problem and asked to be thrown overboard.
The aftermath of this story was that God had a great fish swallow Jonah which spat him up on land, whereupon he recognised God had rescued him for the purpose of preaching to the people of Ninevah.
The result of Jonah's preaching was that people repented and were saved. Jonah was livid with frustration that after all he had gone through, God forgave the Ninevites. Sometimes it just ain't fair in the way we contemplate fairness.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html