An upgrade for Tokomaru level crossing
11 July 2013 11:11AM
New flashing light and bell automatic alarms have been installed at the level crossing at the south end of the settlement of Tokomaru in Horowhenua.
KiwiRail’s General Manager Infrastructure and Engineering, Rick van Barneveld, says “Installation of flashing light and bell alarms or the addition of half-arm barriers at any railway crossing is based on an assessment system that takes into account many factors including location, road and rail traffic numbers, the number of railway tracks to be crossed and whether views of approaching trains are obstructed.”
“Using this information we have compiled a national priority list of 80 public road level crossings that justify the installation of new flashing light and bell alarms or the addition of half-arm barriers (for high traffic level crossings where flashing lights and bells are already installed).”
He says, “There were collisions at the Tokomaru Road level crossing in 2011 and 2012, both of which resulted in minor injuries. As a result, the crossing was moved up to number three on our National Road Level Crossing Upgrading Priority List.”
Mr van Barneveld says “This is the third level crossing protection upgrade completed for the new financial year. We are currently planning to install around eight new or upgraded alarm systems each year.”
“KiwiRail is also the primary sponsor of the Chris Cairns Foundation which provides public awareness and education campaigns about level crossing safety. We believe such campaigns have contributed to a downward trend in level crossing accident statistics. Collision rates are falling despite the fact that there are more trains, more people and more road vehicles.”
However, he advises caution when approaching level crossings, even when flashing light and bell alarms are present.
“There were two public road level crossing collisions in the three months to June 2013. This was only a third of the previous ten year average for the quarter and the lowest number of collisions recorded in this quarter for some decades.”
However, Mr van Barneveld says, “Every accident is one too many and we will continue with our efforts to educate people to make sure that they understand the dangers associated with level crossings and the rail network. Obeying the road rules is the best way to avoid the vast majority of these collisions.”
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