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Facts

Near collisions

Every week, on every railway line in New Zealand, there are many ‘near collisions’ where vehicles or people are almost hit by a train.

A near collision can either be at a level crossing or elsewhere on the railway tracks.

Locomotive engineers (train drivers) are obliged to report all near collisions, and if you are seen driving, walking or cycling in front of a train your details will be passed on to the Police. 

Statistics also show that motorists and pedestrians continue to take unnecessary risks at level crossings or fail to follow the warning signs.

  • In 2011 there were 113 recorded near collisions on the rail corridor. 
  • From August 2010 to the end of 2011 there were 193 near collisions between vehicles and trains.  
  • 37 percent of all near collisions since August 2010 occurred at crossings protected by barrier arms.
  • 76 percent of near collisions since August 2010 occurred at crossings with either flashing lights and bells or barrier arms.

Warning signs are there to protect motorists and pedestrians – always pay attention to them and stop, look and listen for trains every time.

Near collisions have an effect on train drivers, with some saying that near misses can be one of the hardest parts of driving trains. 

In 2010 the Chris Cairns Foundation ran a nationwide campaign aimed at reducing the number of collisions and near collisions at level crossings. 

The campaign also spread the message that train drivers are reporting everything that they see to the Police in the hope that motorists and pedestrians would be less likely to take dangerous risks

Read about locomotive engineer Ian Thornton's first hand experiences with near collisions and the impact they have.

Always remember

Double check there is space on the other side of the crossing for your vehicle.


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Latest news

Aucklanders reminded to take care around trains on eve of electric train services

Thursday, April 24, 2014

With Monday heralding a new era of electric train services for Auckland, KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ are reminding Aucklanders to stay alert and vigilant around level crossings and train tracks.

TrackSAFE NZ Manager Megan Drayton says “electric trains are quiet and this means there will be an even greater need for people to stay focused around railway tracks.” 

“We would encourage everyone to make sure they have removed headphones when around level crossings, always look both ways for trains and to cross tracks only when the lights and bells are not operating.”

Ms Drayton also says people also need to remember that the only legal place they are allowed to cross the railway is at designated level crossings.

KiwiRail’s Acting Chief Executive Iain Hill says “We advise motorists and pedestrians to take extra care looking for trains at stations and level crossings, to obey the warning signs when approaching level crossings and to always ensure there is space for their vehicle on the other side before driving over the crossing.”

Nationwide, there have been 18 collisions involving vehicles at level crossings last year, three of which were fatal. This compares to 16 collisions in 2012.

Mr Hill has also reinforced the need for extra care and responsible behaviour around newly installed overhead electricity wires along the Auckland rail corridor. “We have seen fatalities and injuries on overhead wires in other parts of New Zealand and elsewhere in the world,’” says Mr Hill.

“We do not want to have an incident in Auckland so we ask that people stay well clear of these wires at all times.” Electric train services will commence along the Onehunga Branch Line from Monday with services being progressively added to other parts of the network in stages over the next eighteen months.

Earlier in the month, the Prime Minister officially ‘switched on’ the electric train wires that will enable new services to commence operation on Monday.

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