As he ran in front of train, boy gave driver the finger

Luke Herbert was the driver of a train that a boy ran in front of at the Bong Bong Road level crossing at Dapto last month.
Luke Herbert was the driver of a train that a boy ran in front of at the Bong Bong Road level crossing at Dapto last month.

A boy who raced across the tracks at Dapto in front of an oncoming train last month gave it the finger as he passed, according to Luke Herbert.

Mr Herbert, who lives in Dapto himself, was the driver of the train in footage released on Tuesday showing four boys running across the level crossing at Bong Bong Road after the boomgates had come down.

The fourth boy, carrying a scooter, races across with the train just metres away.

While it can’t be seen on the video, Mr Herbert said the kid raised his middle finger as he crossed.

This was while the NSW TrainLink driver was hoping the kid didn't trip.

“If he had fallen over, he would have had two chances for survival – Buckley’s and none,” Mr Herbert said.

By the time the boy darted across, Mr Herbert said he was “a passenger at my own controls, I had no brakes left as I was preparing to stop the train anyway.”

“The only thing I could do was try and use the emergency brake and sound the horns again,” he said. “Luckily he didn't trip and was able to get out of my way safely.”

Mr Herbert said a feeling of shock went through him as he pulled into Dapto station, worrying if any of the passengers had fallen over due to his sudden braking.

“Then anger sets in, this youth has just given me the fright of my life, why would anyone be so silly as to take that sort of a chance?”

Despite the shock, Mr Herbert said he continued on his run to Wollongong and then onto Sydney.

It wasn’t the first time someone had been foolish enough to cross the tracks in front of his train – he said he’s had three other near misses on the South Coast line alone.

While he felt most people understood there was a human being behind the controls of a train, “there is a small minority that just don't think about the ramifications if something goes wrong and the effect it has on the crew of the train”.

For those who try the risky run across level crossings, he just wished people would think about what would happen if things went wrong. 

“Your family then has to bury you,” he said.

“The travelling public have to witness the most horrific of sights, the driver now has to live with the fact that he has killed someone for the rest of his life, the guard has to examine the body, the emergency services have to clean up.

“All because you cannot wait for 30 seconds for the train to pass.”