Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Crossing deaths: 'Something has to be done'

Those taking part in the blessing walk across the Walters Road crossing. Photo / Michael Craig
Those taking part in the blessing walk across the Walters Road crossing. Photo / Michael Craig

"Something has to be done'', Takanini resident Maureen Blackmoore says as her community mourns another death on the railway tracks.

Four people have been killed by trains in the area in the last nine years, the latest a 12-year-old girl who was struck and killed at Taka St.

Less than two months earlier, a 32-year-old man died instantly when hit by a passenger train at the level crossing on Walters Rd.

Mrs Blackmoore yesterday organised for kaumatua to bless both sites and a crossing at Manuroa Rd, where 5-year-old Zyon Batten was hit and killed by a train in 2004.

"It really has a devastating effect on the community,'' she said.

"The population out here is expanding really fast and there are more and more children all the time - the primary school is having to build extra classes to fit everyone in.''

She said children who played at a park on Taka St would regularly cross the tracks to go and get drinks from Burger King on the other side.

Adding to Mrs Blackmoore's concerns, the electrification of Auckland's rail network meant trains would be faster, quieter _ and deadlier.

"I have eight grandchildren that live in Takanini and I just don't want to see this happen again.''

One of her grandson's had been traumatised to see the body of the 12-year-old girl underneath a sheet as he made his way home.

"He thought it might be his mum because she goes to work across the tracks.''

Mrs Blackmoore said she had been in touch with Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Auckland Transport to see if they could improve railway crossings in the area.

She said she had been told they could not afford the upgrades.

"Parents are worried, they're really worried here.''

A 12-year-old girl died after being struck by a train in the Auckland suburb of Takanini. Photo / Brett Phibbs
A 12-year-old girl died after being struck by a train in the Auckland suburb of Takanini. Photo / Brett Phibbs

- APNZ

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