Tag Archives: New Zealand

New Plymouth, New Zealand: Are there lessons to learn from fatality

18 Jan

New plymouth District Council has said that it will do all it can to prevent a further fatality on the popular coastal footpath where it intersects the railway. Most recently an adult mails killed when on January 11th, 2016, he was hit by a train on one of four pedestrian crossings of the Kiwi Rail right-of-way on the coastal path within new Plymouth.

The coastal pathway is increasingly busy with an estimated annual pedestrian usage of some 350,000. There is an expectation that this will increase going forward.

In so far as the pedestrian crossing near Weymouth Street is concerned it is passive with a chicane approach so that users are prompted to look each way before they take a decision to cross at a clearly marked decision line. In this case distraction is a probable principal cause of the accident as the victim was wearing headphones and possibly also using a mobile telephone.

Previously, in 2004 there was also a fatality at this level crossing which KiwiRail has not risk ranked in a way that would trigger an upgrade.

Wellington, New Zealand: Fatal crossing collision verdict received sympathetically

26 Nov

A young person who was 17 at the time of a fatal collision has been sentenced to 200 hours community service and has had his driving revoked for one year by a judge sitting at Wellington District Court.
While the motorist was severely injured his girl friend was ejected from the vehicle and killed.

The motorist failed to see the approaching train as he approached a passive level crossing and continued straight ahead into the side of the train with fatal consequences. The accident on February 17th, 2013 was the second fatal crash at the Wiltons Rd level crossing between Carterton and Masterton. The first was in 2002 with the result being the death of the motorist. The crossing was also the location of a third non-fatal collision.

The motorist was originally charged with dangerous driving causing death, but he pleaded guilty when the charge was reduced to aggravated careless driving causing death. The root cause of this accident is seen as the inappropriate nature of the Wiltons Road level crossing. However with less than 200 road vehicles traversing the crossing each day, KiwiRail has reiterated that it cannot justify the expense of upgrading the crossing to an active status at a cost of between NZD120,000-200,000 as 63 other crossings were a higher priority.

Because of the community’s view of the level crossing and the lack of aggravating factors, the community service sentence is considered appropriate. Indeed, throughout the time since the accident in February 2013, the victims family has been supportive of their daughters boy friend.

Australia & New Zealand: TrackSAFE reprises Rail Safety Week 2014

5 Sep

TrackSAFE’s review of Rail Safety Week, August 11th-17th, 2014 reads as follows:

With 1,000 near hits taking place each year it is evident that we all must continue spreading the word that people need to exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings near tracks and trains are around. ‘Near Miss? Near Hit’ was the focus of this year’s annual campaign in Australia and New Zealand, held from 11-17 August 2014.

Events and activities were held all across Australia and New Zealand by industry members in a united effort to raise awareness about the importance of being safe around railway lines. Participating organisations included V/Line, TrackSAFE NZ and KiwiRail, TasRail, Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink, South Australia Police, Siemens, Queensland Rail, Queensland Police Service, Pacific National, NT Department of Transport and NT Police, NSW Police, Metro Trains Melbourne, Brookfield Rail, Australian Rail Track Corporation and Aurizon.

Activities ranged from simulated train driving, educational outreach in schools, face painting, increased police enforcement at level crossings, to visits from Thomas the Tank Engine and the Dumb Ways to Die characters. There was something for all ages as the industry rallied together to support Rail Safety Week and inform their communities about potential repercussions and trauma caused to rail staff when involved in train-related incidents. Several entities also released videos and held active Facebook and Twitter conversations in order to elevate the profile of Rail Safety Week activities. TrackSAFE provided a variety of posters and other promotional material for participants to use at their events. Feedback was positive and a new wave of enthusiasm swept the industry as a result the of week’s activities.

Click here to watch the Rail Safety Week YouTube video developed for the campaign. Keep an eye out for next year’s campaign announcement where we’ll be celebrating 10 years of Rail Safety Week!

Temuka, New Zealand: Truck flown to hospital, truck destroyed

25 Aug

A collision between a truck and a train on a passive level crossing has led to the truck driver being evacuated by helicopter to Christchurch. The accident occurred on a level crossing between Rangitata and Temuka at approximately 11.10 on August 20th, 2014. It is understood that the truck driver was familiar with the crossing on which the accident happened. Although the trailer of the articulated truck was destroyed in the collision, the driving cab remained intact. Initially it was thought that the truck was carrying a hazardous material, this was subsequently identified to be lime.

Australia & New Zealand: Rail Safety Week generates extensive media coverage

11 Aug

Near Hits Final A3Train Noise Final A3The media around Australia and New Zealand has widely reported the launch of Rail Safety Week and the initiatives launched to engage and educate the public of the need to act safely when around railways, in particular at level crossings.

Examples of the coverage include:

  • Police and KiwiRail promoting safe behaviour at level crossings on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island – a corridor that has experienced five collisions and there fatalities in the past year.
  • A police blitz in New South Wales targeting motorists and pedestrians who choose to ignore the rules for the safe use of level crossings.
  • the Marlborough Road Safety Council has surveyed patterns of behaviour at Blenheim’s busiest level crossing and is promoting safe behaviours to address the risks identified.

This coverage comes within the week-long campaign organised by TrackSAFE and focussing on the message ‘Near miss… Near Hit’ aimed at raising awareness around the 1,000 near misses occurring each year and the fact that a ‘near miss’ is actually a ‘near hit’ and a split second difference between keeping your life and losing it.


New Zealand: KiwiRail CEO visits latest upgrade project

24 Jun

LXinfoImage1112-KiwiRail logoKiwiRail Chief Executive, Peter Reidy, today visited the West Coast with a message that drivers should take care near level crossings.

“Obey the warning signs, and look in both directions for trains. Listen, be aware, pay careful attention to your surroundings, and always ensure there’s space on the other side of the crossing for your vehicle.”

Mr Reidy was speaking at SH67, near Granity, at the latest West Coast level crossing to be upgraded by KiwiRail.

He was joined by Buller District Council Mayor, Garry Howard, TrackSAFE NZ Foundation manager, Megan Drayton, Granity Constable, Greg Sherie, and several KiwiRail General Managers.

Although collision free since 1996, road and rail traffic levels at the crossing were significant, and new flashing lights and bells had recently been installed to replace the crossings passive signs.

Mr Reidy said everyone had a role to play to ensure safety around level crossings.

“Motorists should always be prepared to stop when approaching a level crossing and look in both directions to check the way is clear of trains.

“What many people don’t realise is that it can take a train up to a kilometre to come to a stop,” Mr Reidy said.

Of the 97 public road level crossings on the West Coast five had half-arm barriers, flashing lights and bells, 27 had flashing lights and bells, and the remaining 65 were protected by ‘Stop’ or ‘Give Way’ signs.

Mr Reidy said a level crossing at Lake Brunner Rd will shortly become the 28th West Coast crossing to have flashing lights and bells installed.

Australia & New Zealand: Rail Safety Week update

23 Jun

LXinfoImage1256-Rail Safety Week 2014Set for the week of August 11-17th, 2014, Rail Safety Week will once again take centre stage across the industry as both Australia and New Zealand gear up to spread the message of rail safety organised by the TrackSAFE Foundation.

The Rail Safety Week Committee decided that this year’s campaign theme will focus on the message of ‘Near Miss….Near Hit’. The theme is aimed at raising awareness around the 1,000 near hits taking place each year, and the fact that a ‘near miss’ is actually a ‘near hit’ – a split second difference in keeping your life and losing it.

The Rail Safety Week team are currently working towards the final concepts for the campaign and will meet again this month to finalise the activities taking place across Australia.

For the latest updates follow TrackSAFE on Twitter @TrackSAFE or on Facebook.