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Near miss between train and house

ONTRACK media statement for immediate release
Wednesday 12 March

Near miss between train and house

ONTRACK is reminding transport companies to get permission before taking oversized loads over railway tracks, after a near miss last night between a freight train and house north of Napier.

A house was being transported across the Waipunga Rd level crossing on the Palmerston North - Gisborne line near Eskdale at the time the freight train was due, just after 9pm.

The 260 ton freight train managed to stop in time to avoid a collision - just three metres short of the transporter carrying the house.

The house removal company did not have a permit to cross the line so train control was unaware the transporter would be crossing the tracks.

ONTRACK Network Operations Manager Carl Mills said level crossings are designed for normal sized vehicles, to give safe sight lines and train warnings.

“Oversized vehicles need additional safety measures, which we manage with a permit system,” Carl Mills said.

“Last night was a close call. If the train hadn’t managed to stop in time, someone’s dream home could have been shattered – literally.”

To help keep the rail network safe, permits to cross the tracks with an over-dimension load will specify:
* the point and time where an over-dimension load can cross;
* required protection measures, such as temporarily moving barrier arms or raising wires or traction; and
* the required communication with train control to ensure safe timing and confirmation of a safe crossing.

Because each level crossing is different and some sections of track have height, weight or width restrictions, such as those with overhead wires, ONTRACK reviews each permit application against a set of safety criteria.

ONTRACK works closely with the Heavy Haulage Association and Land Transport New Zealand to manage over-dimension loads.

“The permit system may seem like a hassle at times, but safety on level crossings needs both road and rail to play their part,” Carl Mills said.


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