Aucklanders reminded to take care around trains on eve of electric train services
24 April 2014 1:01PM
With Monday heralding a new era of electric train services for Auckland, KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ are reminding Aucklanders to stay alert and vigilant around level crossings and train tracks.
TrackSAFE NZ Manager Megan Drayton says “electric trains are quiet and this means there will be an even greater need for people to stay focused around railway tracks.”
“We would encourage everyone to make sure they have removed headphones when around level crossings, always look both ways for trains and to cross tracks only when the lights and bells are not operating.”
Ms Drayton also says people also need to remember that the only legal place they are allowed to cross the railway is at designated level crossings.
KiwiRail’s Acting Chief Executive Iain Hill says “We advise motorists and pedestrians to take extra care looking for trains at stations and level crossings, to obey the warning signs when approaching level crossings and to always ensure there is space for their vehicle on the other side before driving over the crossing.”
Nationwide, there have been 18 collisions involving vehicles at level crossings last year, three of which were fatal. This compares to 16 collisions in 2012.
Mr Hill has also reinforced the need for extra care and responsible behaviour around newly installed overhead electricity wires along the Auckland rail corridor.
“We have seen fatalities and injuries on overhead wires in other parts of New Zealand and elsewhere in the world,’” says Mr Hill. “We do not want to have an incident in Auckland so we ask that people stay well clear of these wires at all times.”
Electric train services will commence along the Onehunga Branch Line from Monday with services being progressively added to other parts of the network in stages over the next eighteen months.
Earlier in the month, the Prime Minister officially ‘switched on’ the electric train wires that will enable new services to commence operation on Monday.
Important safety messages for Aucklanders:
- Always stay behind the yellow lines at train stations
- Take care around overhead wires – do not carry tall objects, fly kites or attempt to climb masts carrying wires
- Do not trespass on the rail corridor – it is illegal and dangerous (KiwiRail have reported 145 ‘near misses last year)
- Pedestrians should only cross tracks at designated pedestrian crossings
For media enquiries, please contact Matt Poland on 027 602 2050 or Megan Drayton on 0274 727002.