Care and commonsense urged at level crossings

  • Nathan Guy

Associate Transport Minister Nathan Guy is urging New Zealanders to heed the message of Rail Safety Week and take care around rail tracks and level crossings.

Since 2000, 42 car drivers or passengers have been killed and 171 injured in level crossing collisions. 18 pedestrians and cyclists have also been killed.

“Most of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented. Rail Safety Week challenges us to not add to these numbers,” says Mr Guy.

“Look and listen for trains at level crossings, and obey the signs, barriers and other safety measures. They aren’t there to hold us up or to create a nuisance. They are there for one reason only: to keep us safe.”

“Rail is going to play a bigger part in our transport system in coming years, as the Government invests in Wellington and Auckland passenger services and the KiwiRail Turnaround Plan.

“As rail use increases, we have to be mindful of safety. The Government is investing $1 million a year into upgrading level crossings with warning lights, bells, and half-arm barriers. This is made up of $500,000 from the Crown (through KiwiRail) and $500,000 from the New Zealand Transport Agency.

“At the same time, it’s important that we use commonsense and take responsibility around rail lines and at level crossings.”

Rail Safety Week runs from 22 to 28 August and aims to improve safety at rail crossings and reduce trespassing on rail tracks. It is coordinated by KiwiRail and the Chris Cairns Foundation and jointly funded by the NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, Veolia, Auckland Transport, Tranz Metro and the Chris Cairns Foundation.

Two specially marked rail carriages will be unveiled tomorrow morning (22 August) to mark this year’s Rail Safety Week. The Auckland event is at 10am on platform three at Britomart, and 9:30am at platform nine, Wellington railway station.