Whangarei Level Crossing Upgrade

27 September 2013 11:11AM

An upgrade for Kamo Road level crossing, Whangarei

New half-arm barriers have been installed at the Kamo Road level crossing in Whangarei. The crossing had previously been protected by flashing light and bell (FLB) alarms.

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 an extended 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, “Although Kamo Road has been collision free since 1979, the road carries over 18,000 vehicles per day and there are an average of 3 trains during the day and 1 at night over the crossing.   This means that the crossing carries over double the traffic necessary to justify the installation of half arm barriers and at one stage was positioned as high as No. 13 on our Road Level Crossing Upgrading Priority List.”

Mr van Barneveld says, “The upgrade was achieved in cooperation with the Whangarei District Council and we appreciate their support.”

Mr van Barneveld says ““The installation of half arm barriers at Kamo Road is the fourth level crossing protection upgrade completed for the financial year ending 30 June 2014.  We are currently planning to install around eight new or upgraded alarm systems per year but we hope to increase this rate when more resources become available.”

He advises caution when approaching level crossings, even when flashing light and bell alarms or barrier arms are present.

“KiwiRail is 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, 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.”