Morningside level crossing to have safety upgrade

27 August 2015 11:11AM

KiwiRail proposes to use first-for-New Zealand technology to upgrade safety measures at Auckland’s Morningside Rail Station where a pedestrian died earlier this year.

 

The fatality occurred on 29 January when a passenger leaving the station platform was struck by a train as he crossed the rail line.

A Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) report released today recommended that active visual alarms or physical barriers should be added to prevent pedestrians from inadvertently crossing the railway tracks when trains are approaching.

TAIC also said the level of protection for people using the rail crossings needed to be addressed to keep up with infrastructure changes and increasing patronage on the passenger trains.

KiwiRail Group General Manager Asset Management, Engineering and Innovation David Gordon says KiwiRail and Auckland Transport are finalising designs for an upgrade at Morningside which will include the installation of electronic gates and a new audible voice messaging system.

“This will be the first location in New Zealand to have the voice messaging technology installed,” Mr Gordon says. “The technology will improve safety awareness for all pedestrians and enhance the accessibility of level crossings for blind or low-vision pedestrians or passengers.”

The system consists of horn speakers located at pedestrian locations. The horn speaker is linked to the active alarm signals and will broadcast a “Caution. Train approaching” message when the level crossing alarms activate, and another message “Caution. Another train approaching” to indicate to pedestrians that a second train is arriving.

Mr Gordon says the safety of people on the rail network is KiwiRail’s top priority.

“We regularly review what we can do to make the rail corridor, including crossings, safer but we also emphasise that pedestrians and motorists need to ensure they look in both directions and cross tracks only when it is safe to do so.”

Mr Gordon says KiwiRail has seen a gradual reduction in level crossing pedestrian incidents in the last few years, from seven in 2012 to two to date this year.  “That’s a reassuring trend but with the frequency of trains increasing, and more people using the services, we will work with other agencies to ensure that safety provisions are appropriate.”

 

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