23 March 2015
KiwiRail fears a tragedy could occur in Tuakau, following a significant rise in trespass incidents on the railway reported by KiwiRail train drivers in the area. KiwiRail is urging residents and visitors to stay off the rail tracks and only cross at official crossings.
KiwiRail is working with TrackSAFE and local Police to raise awareness of the importance of keeping off the tracks due to the dangers and is asking local residents to get involved too.
“This is an issue where with the involvement of community an injury or worse a death can potentially be avoided. Please let us know if you spot anyone crossing the track, or endeavor to discourage them from this unsafe activity - it might just save someone's life,” says KiwiRail’s Northern Regional Manager, Stephen Collett.
“The rail network is equivalent to a state highway, and you wouldn’t cross or walk along that. Around 20 trains a day pass through Tuakau - they can come at any time and travel at speeds up to 100km/hr. Our drivers dread seeing someone on the tracks as, unlike a car, trains can’t swerve to miss an object or stop quickly.
A collision between a train and a person can easily be avoided and Mr Collett urges locals to "Only use official crossings - not doing so is potentially lethal.”
TrackSAFE Manager Megan Drayton says trespassing on railway tracks is the leading cause of deaths on the railway in New Zealand and around the world.
“We would urge the people of Tuakau to cross at the proper points, always look both ways for trains and to wait for a train to pass before crossing,” she says.
“Trains travel a lot faster than they look, and research has shown that it is impossible for people to accurately judge the speed of an approaching train.”
Media Contact: Vida McCord, 027 886 0933