Drivers ignore warnings
Dangerous driving is to blame for a spate of near collisions between motorists and trains at level crossings, KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn says.
Since January, train drivers have reported 19 incidents at level crossings where motorists have crossed in front of approaching trains.
Twelve of these were at crossings protected by flashing lights and bells.
One of these incidents occurred at George St in Eden Terrace in late January.
The driver crossed despite the fact barriers were down to indicate a train was approaching.
Road works were in progress at the time and the driver also ignored a construction worker who was holding up a stop sign.
In four other incidents motorists deliberately drove around vehicles which had already stopped at the crossing and in one situation the motorist had to swerve to avoid the train.
‘‘We are horrified to think motorists would deliberately put themselves, and any passengers they may have in such grave danger,’’ Mr Quinn says.
‘‘There is nothing our train drivers can do when confronted with a situation like this other than to sound their horn, and hope for the best. It is a very distressing situation for them.’’
Level crossing alarms and signs are there for the safety of motorists and drivers can be prosecuted for failing to stop, police Inspector Mark Stables says.
In 2013 KiwiRail recorded 107 near collisions with vehicles at level crossings and in 2012 there were 154.
Spanning generations: Ten lineages of descendants from Hargee village in Canton, China, gathered in Mangere to celebrate 75 years since the arrival of refugees during the Japanese invasion of China.
Living memories: Ken Chan, 81, is a surviving member of the original group of Chinese refugees who arrived in New Zealand in 1939 to escape the Japanese invasion.