Train safety tips for clued up kids
A child safety programme will teach Marlborough school children proper train safety next week to match the return of daytime trains.
The Clued-Up Kids event will show about 700 school pupils from 17 schools how to take care around trains.
Daytime freight trains started up earlier this month, two years after train journeys between Picton and Christchurch came to a halt following the 2016 Kaiko¯ ura earthquake.
KiwiRail train driver Warren ‘‘Rowdy’’ Robertson, who will attend the sessions, said: ‘‘Kids don’t realise that they [trains] are back up and running, and can run at any time.’’
He said while there was just one daytime train at the moment, another would roll in from the first week of December.
Steam trains also ran between Picton and Blenheim every other day.
‘‘The track is very much alive and people need to be aware of it, [and] not just kids but the adults as well,’’ he said.
‘‘The trains go through the middle of Blenheim, so it’s important to get that message emphasised. They don’t go that fast through Blenheim, but fast enough to do serious damage.’’
Points to discuss with school children included how to look for trains, where to cross rail lines, how crossings work, and how to navigate a platform safely.
Other points would be telling children to keep off bridges, like the O¯ paoa River railway bridge, and to look both ways before crossing the track.
‘‘The big thing with kids is to teach them to stay clear [of the track] at all times,’’ he said. ‘‘If they’re going to cross, then we teach them that they use the right place.’’
A lack of knowledge was a key factor in many train accidents in the region, Robertson said.
‘‘If we save one life with these kids, then we’re doing our job,’’ he said.
Riverlands School principal Dave Parsons said the train component of the Clued-Up Kids programme was ‘‘brilliant’’.
‘‘Having that as the module that they use is very important for every child, not just those who live around train lines,’’ Parsons said.
‘‘It’s important for [children] to be aware that trains exist and that they can’t slam on the brakes like a vehicle can.
‘‘It’s reinforcing what we hope is being spoken about at home, being personally safe and responsible.’’
Riverlands School was one of several in the region to be located close to a rail corridor.
The Clued-Up Kids scheme is aimed at Year 5 and 6 school pupils and would run from November 5 to 9.
It would feature experts from the police, Civil Defence, Marlborough Roads and Maataa Waka Dog Control.
Kiwi Rail train driver Warren ‘‘Rowdy’’ Robertson says it’s important to teach kids proper train safety as the Picton to Christchurch rail corridor was ‘‘very much alive’’.