KiwiRail reminds public to expect trains
14 March 2016 3:03PM
Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are being warned to take care at railway crossings as more trains travel through the region. A change in train schedules will see the reintroduction of Saturday trains along the East Coast Main Trunk line from mid-March and KiwiRail is urging the local community to be alert.
KiwiRail Group General Manager Network Services Todd Moyle says the line is already one of the busiest in the country, “As the port of Tauranga grows, demand for our services increases. It’s important for everyone approaching railway tracks to expect trains at any time, from either direction.”
Research shows that complacency and distraction are the leading causes of collisions around the rail network, Mr Moyle says. “People become accustomed to train traffic in areas they drive around regularly but train times do change. If everyone remains alert, obeys the signs and signals at level crossings and remembers to always check for trains, then we should all stay safe.
“KiwiRail continues to see an increase in freight services as rail volumes from the Bay of Plenty area grow. Over the last five years we’ve seen an increase of more than 35 per cent in the number of trains in the area and numbers are continuing to grow. While carrying freight by rail helps reduce congestion on our roads, and benefits the environment by reducing exhaust emissions, it also means more trains on our tracks.”
National rail safety trust TrackSAFE NZ says the increase in train services in the region provides a timely opportunity to remind Waikato and Bay of Plenty people to only cross tracks at level crossings. ”Crossing railway tracks anywhere other than at a level crossing is extremely unsafe,” says Manager Megan Drayton.
“Trains are often travelling faster than they appear, and can be surprisingly quiet – so we urge people to take the only safe and legal option, which is to cross at a crossing where there are signs or signals to help people keep themselves safe.”
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About KiwiRail in the Bay of Plenty and Waikato region:
To meet increasing customer demand for rail freight services the busy East Coast Main Trunk (ECMT) rail line has received significant transport infrastructure investment. Most recently KiwiRail has begun upgrading the Kaimai tunnel and a new Transport Agency project separating rail from road in the Baypark-Bayfair area has just recently got underway. Other work has focused on improving safety around the rail network including track and level crossing upgrade.
Freight services operate day and night along the East Coast Main Trunk running between Te Rapa, to and from the Port of Tauranga, both at Sulphur Point and Mount Maunganui and along KiwiRail’s branch lines.
KiwiRail’s most recent environmental impact figures, saying the freight carried by rail in the six months to 31 December represented a reduced heavy vehicle impact of 545,000 trips and an additional 106,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions had it been carried on New Zealand’s roads.
For more information on KiwiRail visit www.kiwirail.co.nz
Rail Safety statistics in the last five years:
Bay of Plenty region:
- Vehicle collisions: 4
- Trespass collisions: 4
- Vehicle collisions: 2
- Trespass collisions: 1
For more information on rail safety visit www.tracksafe.co.nz