SEVERAL people, including the driver, apparently watched as an XPT train smashed into their car near Chiltern early yesterday.
The empty train was heading north at 125km/h about 2.30am when it struck the four-wheel-drive abandoned on the tracks near Ferrier Road.
Police yesterday said those involved had fled the scene soon after the crash.
Wodonga Sgt Wal Larkin said investigations had so far indicated that the driver had tried to cross the railway line from a service road, as opposed to using a level crossing.
Sgt Larkin said that, because the driver was on the service road, the vehicle had somehow become stuck on the tracks.
“It’s very reckless behaviour and it’s lucky no one was hurt,” he said.
“Regardless of whether those involved thought a train was coming or not, their behaviour was very irresponsible.
“That they didn’t contact emergency services immediately when they got stuck is also a concern.”
Sgt Larkin said the car was destroyed and the train and track were extensively damaged.
He said debris from the train and car was still being cleared from the site at 10am yesterday.
A V/Line spokeswoman said the 6.35am train from Albury to Melbourne was affected by the crash — the service was delayed by 50 minutes.
Police said they were going all out to find those involved.