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Mike Kilsby

KiwiRail Locomotive Engineer Mike Kilsby says level crossing collisions impact on the whole family of a train driver, including their partners and children.

“My father also drove trains and as a child I can remember him coming home from work after being involved in a fatal level crossing accident.

These incidents had a huge impact on him personally and the resulting stress and emotional trauma he suffered affected our whole family.”

Mike is one of three generations of locomotive engineers – as he follows in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather.

“My grandfather was involved in a fatal collision on his very first trip as a fireman on a steam locomotive,” Mike says.

“He was heading out of the Linwood depot in 1941 and his train hit a car, killing the two occupants.  It was a tragic way for him to begin his job in the railways.”

Fortunately Mike has not been involved in any collisions, although he says he’s had a number of “very close calls”.

“People on the roads just need to take care and be aware of trains at level crossings at all times.  We have right of way, we can’t swerve, and we can’t stop the train in a hurry.

While Mike says driving trains is in his blood, he will always live in the hope that he is never involved in a level crossing collision.  

History

On 25 February 1976 the driver of a Manawatu Power Board truck was killed when his truck was stuck by a southbound goods train on the Hobson St level crossing in Feilding.  The vehicle was completely destroyed.  The train locomotive and 16 wagons were derailed in the accident and the main line was blocked for four days. (From the book     " Danger Ahead " by Geoffrey B Churchman).  


The driver of the locomotive was Mick Balfour (Mike Kilsby's grandfather ) and the Driver's Assistant was Jeff York.  Both were not harmed in the incident.  Mick Balfour retired five years after this collision.


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More of your stories

  • Nicole Vreugdenhil “It's amazing I survived at all”
  • Roni Jacobs “We now always stop at a Stop sign”
  • Ian Thornton “I've lost count of how many near misses I've had”
  • Cathy Turner “I miss my son Michael every day”
  • Joseph Butters “He will never be the boy he was going to be”
  • Mike Kilsby “It impacts on all your family and friends”
  • Paul Johansen “I wouldn't wish it on anyone, and I wish I hadn't been there”
  • Ray Burgess “They thought I would die so I know I'm one of the lucky ones”
  • Willy Palmer “We never want to see the horrific things we do”

Keeping safe


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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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