An upgrade for Stour Street level crossing
09 May 2013 9:09AM
New flashing light and bell automatic alarms have been installed at Palmerston’s Stour Street level crossing.
KiwiRail’s General Manager Infrastructure and Engineering, Rick van Barneveld, says alarms were installed at Stour Street in conjunction with the closure of the nearby Auskerry Street crossing to road vehicles. The crossing had previously been protected by passive signs.
He says, “The upgrade was achieved in cooperation with the Waitaki District Council and we appreciate their support in reaching a positive outcome.”
Mr van Barneveld says, “Installation of flashing light and bell alarms or the addition of half-arm barriers at any railway crossing is based on an assessment system that takes into account many factors including location, road and rail traffic numbers, the number of railway tracks to be crossed and whether views of approaching trains are obstructed.”
“Using this information we have compiled an extended national priority list of 80 public road level crossings that justify the installation of new flashing light and bell alarms or the addition of half-arm barriers (for high traffic level crossings where flashing lights and bells are already installed).”
He says, “The closure of the Auskerry Street level crossing to road vehicles earlier this month has diverted all that crossing’s road traffic to Stour Street. This means that Stour Street carries sufficient traffic to justify the installation of alarms and therefore appeared on our national Road Level Crossing Upgrading Priority List.”
Mr van Barneveld says “This is the fifth level crossing protection upgrade completed for the financial year ending 30 June 2013. We are currently planning to install around eight new or upgraded alarm systems per year but we hope to increase this rate when more resources become available.”
However, he advises caution when approaching level crossings, even when flashing light and bell alarms are present.
“KiwiRail is the primary sponsor of the Chris Cairns Foundation which provides public awareness and education campaigns about level crossing safety. We believe such campaigns have contributed to a downward trend in level crossing accident statistics. Collision rates are falling despite the fact that there are more trains, more people and more road vehicles.”
However, Mr van Barneveld says, “Every accident is one too many and we will continue with our efforts to educate people to make sure that they understand the dangers associated with level crossings and the rail network. Obeying the road rules is the best way to avoid the vast majority of these collisions.”
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