Stay safe on the tracks – Rail Safety Week

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 10, 2020

Despite the government installing safety upgrades around the country, people should still take care around rail crossings, said Transport Minister Phil Twyford as he launched Rail Safety Week.

Twyford said installing safety infrastructure was crucial, but so was encouraging people to be more careful around trains.

“We‘re making good progress rolling out upgrades like automatic gates to save lives, and there‘s more on the way.

“Since the start of 2018, in Auckland 23 high-risk pedestrian crossings have had barrier gates installed, with 15 more planned. Wellington is seeing upgrades to 12 pedestrian crossings, with improvements planned for at least 27 road crossings in the Wairarapa.”

Twyford said on top of that, KiwiRail and the NZTA had also completed upgrades to 17 level crossings around the country, with another 20 to be completed before the middle of next year.

Since 2013, 110 pedestrians and motorists have died in collisions with trains in New Zealand, with 43 of those deaths at level crossings.

“The people we have lost are more than a statistic. They are friends, whanau and colleagues. Each one has a story and has left loved ones who are grieving their loss,” Twyford said. 

“While lockdown has meant a 30 to 40 percent drop in near misses and fewer collisions compared with last year, there has been little change in the number of collisions at level crossings that already have protections.

“Anyone crossing the rail corridor needs to pay careful attention to their surroundings, look for warning bells and barriers, and take the time to check for trains – that‘s what we‘re encouraging this Rail Safety Week. This is especially important given our government‘s record investment in rail, which will see more frequent services in the years ahead,” Twyford said.