KiwiRail warning of need to stay off Main North Line

10 February 2017 4:04PM

Concern is increasing over the number of people ignoring KiwiRail warnings to stay off the South Island’s Main North Line.

“They are putting themselves and staff working on the line at risk,”  says  KiwiRail Group General Manager Network Services Todd Moyle.

“Yesterday our staff saw trucks parked on the line. They appear to have presumed that because the line is currently closed for regular services it is not being used but that is not the case.

“Staff repairing the line are using hi-rails - a small truck that rides on the tracks - and we will shortly begin using work trains.

“The usual rules for access to the track apply to the Main North Line. People need a permit to enter the rail corridor. Otherwise they are both being unsafe and breaking the law.

“The line is going to be increasingly busy with repair and construction work as KiwiRail’s programme gathers pace. It is a vital part of our network for moving freight between the islands and we want it to be back up and running as soon as possible.”

TrackSafe Foundation Manager Megan Drayton  says people need to understand they must stay off railway tracks at all times. 

“It is illegal to be on railway tracks at any point other than a level crossing, and this rule of law also applies when passenger and freight services are not operating.”

“Hi-rail vehicles and other rail maintenance vehicles are still using the tracks, and they have legal right of way.  There remains a risk of collision with these vehicles as they operate in a similar way to trains – they are often quiet, they can’t always stop in a hurry and they can’t swerve to avoid objects on the tracks.

Ms Drayton says the law relating to trespass on railway tracks is there to protect people.  “Most fatalities on railway tracks in New Zealand and around the world occur from people being on tracks where they shouldn’t.”

 

Simon Kilroy

Media contact:  04 498 2038