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Wandering stock seeking greener pastures

ONTRACK media statement for immediate release
Tuesday 1 April

Wandering stock seeking greener pastures

Rail network operator ONTRACK is concerned at the number of stock wandering onto the rail corridor in recent weeks and is reminding farmers to take special care.

On Saturday, the Overlander passenger service hit a cow near Waimiha on the North Island Main Trunk line. This was the eleventh incident with stock on the rail network in the two weeks since 16 March.

ONTRACK Network Operations Manager Carl Mills said that while not all of these incidents resulted in a collision with a train, it remained a real risk.

“Luckily the Overlander was able to continue after the accident on Saturday but the previous week the Stratford-Okahukura line was closed for days when a locomotive was derailed after a collision with a bull,”Carl Mills said.

“I’m not sure if the drought conditions in parts of the country are encouraging stock to seek ‘greener pastures’ beside the railway line. Whatever the cause, stock on the line is a real safety issue.

“Farmers also run the risk of losing valuable animals so we are reminding them to take care and to keep cattle and sheep away from the railway lines.”

In the North Island over the past two weeks five cattle and three sheep were killed in collisions with trains, in addition to a number of reported sightings of stock beside railway lines.

Owners of stock are responsible for adequate fencing and can be liable under the Railways Act 2005 for costs related to incidents with animals on railway lines.

ENDS

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