A DRIVER who almost slammed into a train, drove at dusk without headlights and ignored a stop sign has drawn the ire of the country's largest rail freight operator.
One of Aurizon's top bosses has blasted the driver following the serious near miss at a Biloela rail crossing late on Wednesday.
About 6pm, a large four-wheel drive travelling at dusk with no headlights on ignored a stop sign and an oncoming train at the Biloela-Jambin Rd level crossing, Aurizon acting safety health and environment vice-president David McMah said.
The drivers of the coal train were forced to apply the emergency brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision with the vehicle by less than a metre.
Mr McMah said road users needed to be vigilant around level crossings.
He said some motorists still failed to recognise the clear danger of trying to outrun trains.
"(Wednesday's) incident is a disturbing reminder that some people are still willing to risk their lives and those of our train drivers despite the obvious dangers, our ongoing safety campaigns and the possibility of police charges," he said.
"These near miss incidents are extremely traumatic for our train drivers, who have every right to go to work each day without fearing reckless and downright stupid behaviour from motorists who are trying to save a few minutes on their journey."
Mr McMah said the drivers of the coal train had been extremely distressed by the incident and were immediately relieved of their duties.
"Our train drivers can't steer a train off the tracks to avoid a car and they can't stop the train suddenly," he said.
"Coal and freight trains can be up to two kilometres long and can take up to one kilometre to pull up when the emergency brakes are applied.
"Our genuine concern is that the next incident could result in a fatality. Again we are pleading with all road users to obey the rules of level crossings in the same way they would obey the rules of the road."