Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Mid Canterbury drivers get large-as-life reminder

5 April 2018

Mid Canterbury drivers get large-as-life reminder: Always Expect Trains

The NZ Transport Agency on Friday this week unveils a locomotive-sized billboard near a railway level crossing in Mid Canterbury, at Hatfield Overdale Road. (Just off State Highway 1, south of Rakaia.)

The ‘Expect Trains’ campaign – jointly developed and funded by the Transport Agency, KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ - aims to get people off autopilot when crossing rural railway tracks and has previously featured at North Island level crossings.

The locomotive-sized billboard and other signs are placed near high risk, selected rural railway level crossings. The billboard, transported by Toll NZ, acts as a visual reminder for drivers to slow down and check for real trains before they cross the railway tracks.

Like many rural level crossings, the Rakaia level crossing at Hatfield Overdale Road is protected by a Stop sign only, no flashing lights, bells or barrier arms.

Brett Aldridge, Senior Manager, Rail Safety, for the Transport Agency, says the campaign is the result of research that showed that local people can be complacent around railway level crossings that they use regularly.

“Local drivers often underestimate how dangerous railway level crossings can be and while train movements might be infrequent, these are huge pieces of equipment and they are absolutely unforgiving.

“Complacency can lead to risky behaviour like failing to carefully look for trains before crossing railway tracks. We really want drivers in rural areas like Rakaia to be aware that failing to check carefully for that train could be a fatal oversight. These collisions also have a devastating effect upon train drivers. We are hoping the life-sized train billboard will alert people to the risk.”

Complacency at rural level crossings by local drivers is likely to be because they have grown up around railway tracks and drive across level crossings every day – possibly multiple times a day. Previous experience is that they don’t normally come across a train.

“Services on rural train lines are usually infrequent which means local drivers may not encounter operating trains at regular intervals. This can lead to complacency and drivers sometimes fail to look properly in both directions,” says KiwiRail Group General Manager Zero Harm Katie McMahon.

“It’s really important to always expect trains at any time, from either direction at level crossings. Drivers approaching crossings should slow down and prepare to stop.”

TrackSAFE NZ Manager Megan Drayton says the national rail safety charitable trust supports any initiative that has the potential to improve safety and reduce incidents at railway level crossings.

“There are hundreds of rural railway level crossings in New Zealand that just have Stop or Give Way signs, and the onus at those crossings is on the motorist to take care by obeying the signs. This campaign raises awareness of the need to always look for trains, and is extremely valuable,” she says.

The Transport Agency has a role in promoting safe use of the rail corridor by rail operators, road users and pedestrians. As part of this role, the Transport Agency runs awareness campaigns and works with other organisations in the rail sector.

The billboard will be stationed at Rakaia for several months.


• On average there are around 22 collisions per year between trains and motor vehicles on public road crossings.

• Trains cannot stop quickly and they can't deviate from their course.

• A laden freight train travelling at 80kph can take more than a kilometre to stop.

• If you see a train coming, don't try to race it across the line. Trains can be moving at 80kph or more and will bear down on your vehicle very quickly.

• This is the first time this campaign has reached the South Island. The Canterbury region was chosen for the campaign as it has the highest number of railway level crossings, and in particular a high number of passively protected crossings (level crossings protected only by Give Way and Stop signs – no bells or barrier arms).

• The Hatfield Overdale Road railway level crossing near Ashburton has had two collisions, resulting in two people dying, one person being serious injured, one person with a minor injury, and one near collision between a train and a vehicle in the last eight years.

• There are approximately 11 planned trains a day (not including specials, work trains, charter services, etc) and approximately 150 vehicles a day which pass through the crossing on this section of the Main South Line.

• The crossing was upgraded from Give Way signs to Stop signs in 2016.

• The billboard has previously been installed in the Wairarapa, Central Hawke's Bay, Rangitikei, and Ruapehu districts in the North Island.

• Just under half (47%) of the 1,320 public road railway level crossings on KiwiRail’s national network are protected by Give Way or Stop signs, with the remainder protected by a combination of bells, alarms and barriers.

• There are also an additional 1,300 railway level crossings on private land, mostly rural, protected solely by Give Way or Stop signs.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

The Pike River Mine Drift will be re-entered, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced today.

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little...

“The advice I have received indicates that it is likely to be around February before the re-entry proper gets underway, by breaching the 30m seal.” More>>


Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>


Rebuilding: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>


Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>


Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>


"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>


Govt Loses In Supreme Court: Call For Debate On Prisoners' Right To Vote

The court earlier this week upheld a High Court decision which found that a law restricting a prisoner's right to vote was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. More>>





InfoPages News Channels