Use your ‘Train Brain’ and be Rail Safe over Summer
16 December 2013 12:12PM
KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ are warning people to use their Train Brain and not take risks around railway lines this holiday period.
Mr Jim Quinn, Chief Executive of KiwiRail and Chair of TrackSAFE NZ, has been disturbed by the increasing incidents of trespassing and near misses on the national rail corridor over the past year.
“There have been 245 reported cases of trespassing on the rail network so far this year, an increase from last year’s number of 230, and 145 near misses at level crossings,” he said.
“There has also been a small increase in the number of collisions at level crossings so far this year and we are pleading with the public to please stop taking risks with trains.”
There have been 18 collisions involving vehicles at level crossings, three of which were fatal so far this year, compared to 16 during 2012.
The trespass incidents include people walking across or jumping off rail bridges, crossing tracks at places other than a level crossing, or simply thinking they can take a short cut by walking along a rail line.
“I am very concerned that as we get to the start of the holiday season we will get more of these high risk incidents, as well as trespassing on bridges, by children.”
“I am encouraging parents to please emphasise to their children that they must always stay safe around our trains.”
“We have many resources and information available on both the KiwiRail and TrackSAFE websites to help explain the dangers of these types of behaviour.”
“These easily avoidable incidents are highly distressing to everyone involved, particularly the rail staff who are usually first on the scene.”
KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ are reminding people that they should only ever cross tracks at legal pedestrian level crossings and that they should always obey the warning signs and signals located right around the national rail network.
“People need to remember that trains are quiet, they move faster than they appear, and they take a very long time to stop,” said Mr Quinn.
“At all times, and especially over Christmas, we are urging people to take care and be aware around the railway, to always obey the signs and make sure the lines are clear of trains before they cross the tracks.”
“But typically in the period leading up to Christmas we tend to see a few collisions, possibly due to people being distracted as they head off on holiday, so please be extra careful and vigilant.”
Media Contacts: Kimberley Brady, KiwiRail Communications Manager, 021 942 519 and Megan Drayton, TrackSAFE NZ, 0274 727 002