One dead after train and car collide

A man was killed when a train and car collided northwest of Auckland this morning. Photo / Chris Gorman
A man was killed when a train and car collided northwest of Auckland this morning. Photo / Chris Gorman

The 73-year-old old, killed this morning when his car collided with a freight train at a level crossing near Auckland, has been named by police.

Ronald Charles Murphy, of Coatesville, was the sole occupant of the car and died at the scene after the incident at the intersection of State Highway 16 and Joyce Adams Place in Waimauku.

Mr Murphy's family were being supported by Victim Support, and the serious crash unit was investigating the incident.

Only two to four trains per day travelled on the section of track and it was not heavily used by motorists either, said KiwiRail spokeswoman Jenni Austin.

It was marked by stop signs but there were no flashing lights, bells or barriers in place.

Ms Austin said there was good visibility in both directions.

There had been an incident at the same level crossing in 2009, where a vehicle and train collided and the vehicle's driver sustained minor injuries.

The driver of the train in this morning's incident, who was the only person on board, was doing "as well as can be expected''.

"It's always very difficult for our drivers. They're often a forgotten victim in these matters.''

Counselling would be provided if required and the driver would be off driving duties for at least three days, Ms Austin said.

National rail safety charity TrackSAFE NZ said today's incident was a very sad reminder of how tragic a level crossing collision could be.

"Our thoughts are with all those affected by this incident, including the train driver and emergency services who attended the scene,'' manager Megan Drayton said.

"Particularly as we head into the Christmas season we would urge everyone to take extra care around level crossings - to always stop at a crossing protected by stop signs and to ensure the lines are clear of trains before proceeding across the tracks.''

- APNZ

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