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NZ Rail Industry Launches First Rail Safety Week

Media Statement 18 July 2007
For immediate release

New Zealand Rail Industry Launches First Rail Safety Week

Growing concern over behaviour around the rail network has prompted key members of the New Zealand rail industry to join forces to participate for the first time in Australasian Rail Safety Week, which starts on Monday, 23 July.

This concern was highlighted in tragic fashion at the weekend when a couple died after a collision with a train at the level crossing at Ohingaiti near Hunterville. It is the second double fatality at a railway crossing in the space of a month and it coincides with a spike in both collisions and near misses after a period of encouraging decline.

Events promoting rail safety will be taking place right across Australia and in New Zealand with the key message in this country being that tracks are for trains and both pedestrians and motorists need to take extreme care when entering or crossing the rail network.

In New Zealand, a series of hard-hitting television ads will be screening on all major channels to drive home the message that ignoring the basic rules around the rail network can lead to tragedy.

“People must understand that trains have right of way and trains take a long time to stop,” says the rail industry.

Toll, ONTRACK, Land Transport New Zealand, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Chris Cairns Foundation have supported these advertisements.

The Chris Cairns Foundation is also launching a central North Island billboard campaign with the help of the Manawatu Police District who initiated the police in cabs scheme. These billboards will be launched in Palmerston North on July 19 and will appear in a number of locations around the country.

These same billboards have formed the basis for a nationwide print and radio campaign initiated by Land Transport New Zealand.

ONTRACK will be launching an initiative to raise awareness of safety and responsibility at level crossings on private roads – such as those providing access to farms - around the country.

In Auckland, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) and Veolia Transport, operator of passenger rail services, will be supporting Rail Safety Week with a localised Police in Cabs scheme, school safety awareness programme and a print campaign funded by Land Transport New Zealand.

Rail Safety Week is being launched this evening at a function at Parliament hosted by Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven.

The Government has been a strong supporter of rail safety with Prime Minister Helen Clark backing the launch of the Tracks are for Trains school programme back in 2005 and she was a guest speaker at the launch earlier this year of the Chris Cairns Foundation.

The Rail Safety week also has the support of the Greater Wellington Regional Council in Wellington and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union and the Federation of Railway Organisations of New Zealand.

ENDS

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