Driv­ers ig­nore warn­ings

Central Leader - - NEWS -

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.

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