Ngaruawahia community called on to keep off rail bridge over long weekend

04 February 2015 1:01PM

Predicted good weather over the long weekend has raised concerns with KiwiRail and NZ Police that young Ngaruawahia community will be tempted back on to the rail bridge. The two organisations are urging the local residents to continue the positive support which has helped keep their young people off the rail bridge and safely away from up to 2000 tonne freight trains.

"Our goal is for no trespassers to be on our bridge. We know it will take a while to stop this potentially lethal activity altogether but no-one wants another avoidable death here," says KiwiRail Zero Harm Manager Aaron Temperton. "Surveillance cameras have shown a significant drop in numbers which is a relief as the close calls we’ve experienced in recent weeks are incredibly stressful and traumatising for our staff.


"We’ve been overwhelmed by the support of the local community - everyone has really rallied together on changing the dangerous habit of jumping off the rail bridge into the Waikato river.


"The railway line is now very busy and trains take a long time to stop and they cannot swerve. The local police do a good job of monitoring the situation for us. This has helped reduce issues over the past few years, but not stopped it altogether."


"We urge people to consider the potential outcomes of their actions – no one wants a family, a wider community and our staff to have to contend with another tragic and unnecessary loss of life."


Neil Mouncher, Community Police Officer says his team will continue to carry out regular patrols in the area, "We've been reminding people that being on the bridge is trespassing which is illegal – and with good reason. It’s been really heartening to see how the community has worked with us and KiwiRail to help manage this situation."


"No-one wants to see another tragedy here. We’d prefer to be spending our time on addressing other issues - people who jump off into the river have a choice as to whether they jump legally or not."


"On Waitangi Day we’ll have a stall from 3-7pm at the Picnic at the Point and are happy to talk to anyone there about this and any other concerns they may have."


Media Contact: Tammy Dickinson, Senior Communications Advisor - KiwiRail, 027 363 7302 or please contact 04 498 2038