Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Warnings after four killed by trains

A man is believed to have been struck by a train near the Ngatai and Otumoetai Rds intersection. Photo / John Borren
A man is believed to have been struck by a train near the Ngatai and Otumoetai Rds intersection. Photo / John Borren

A man who died this morning was the fourth pedestrian in two weeks to be killed after being hit by a train and a safety group says it is vital people take more care around the tracks.

The man, who police say was aged between 30 to 40, was hit by a train in Tauranga about 5.40am.

It is the latest in a grim string of fatalities over the last few weeks and the seventh incident in a month.

The Chris Cairns Foundation focuses on safety around trains and manager Megan Drayton told APNZ their message was simple.

"Only cross at proper pedestrian crossings and always, always stop, look and listen for trains - and always look in both directions as well in case there's one coming in the other direction.''

She said the foundation was also pushing the message for people to be vigilant around tracks while they were using mobile devices.

"So take your headphones out and don't speak on your mobile phone when you're around railway tracks and to be really alert and not have any of those distractions.''

Ms Drayton said trains usually travel faster than people think.

"They're incredibly quiet and people just need to remember that. Don't assume that a train's travelling slow and you're going to hear it because you possibly won't.''

KiwiRail has also pleaded for the public to take more care around rail lines.

"There have been far too many incidents lately where people have been in the wrong place on our tracks and been fatally injured,'' said KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn.

"Every single death or injury on the railway network is avoidable. People need to act responsibly around our network.''

Mr Quinn said people needed to take simple precautions such as not wearing earplugs and obeying the rules.

"Trains can't stop quickly and can't swerve. Not only do these avoidable incidents cause an immense amount of harm to the people involved, but they also have a terrible impact on our drivers, staff and the families of the victims.''

The numbers:

- Aug 2: Man hit and killed by a train in Tauranga

- July 31: Man hit and killed by a train in Lower Hutt

- July 25: 15-year-old Zac Lang hit and killed near his Matamata high school

- July 24: 68-year-old man hit and killed by a train in Lower Hutt

- July 17: 26-year-old man critically injured when his car was hit by a train on the Kapiti Coast

- July 10: 27-year-old pedestrian hit and critically injured by a train in Auckland

- APNZ

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