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It sounded like a car smashing into a pole, but when Tony Digrazia ran from the Brunswick factory where he worked, he could not see a thing through the dark and rain.
A 74-year-old woman had been struck by a car outside the factory on Hope Street, near Anstey station, about 7.20 on Thursday night. She had been dragged by the car and was lying on the tracks.
Not until he heard screams and alarms signalling an oncoming train did Mr Digrazia see two figures - one motionless on the tracks, the other yelling for help - illuminated by the lights of the descending boom gates.
"I didn't even think," Mr Digrazia said. He ran for the tracks, ducked under the boom gates, and with the help of the driver whose car had struck the woman, dragged her to safety just seconds before the train tore across the tracks. "I wasn't trying to be a hero. I just went and did what anybody would have done," Mr Digrazia said.
All the train conductor could see before pulling the emergency break were dark shapes, said Constable Ben D'Ornay, who interviewed him.
It was only when his carriage passed the two men dragging the woman from the tracks that the conductor knew how close they had been.
"I think there was about three seconds in it from the time she was moved off to when the train went past," Constable D'Ornay said.
The woman, who suffered a fractured skull, was in serious but stable condition in Royal Melbourne Hospital yesterday.
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