Train safety tips for clued up kids

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - MOTORING - CHLOE RANFORD

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’’.

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