Watch: Near misses on the track for rail safety week

Pedestrians crossing railway tracks are being urged to stay alert as part of a new nationwide rail safety campaign.

The campaign has been developed as part of rail safety week, a national week aimed at raising awareness of safe behaviour around railway tracks.

Tracksafe manager Megan Drayton said people often forget the risks of crossing a railway track as the area became too familiar.

Complacency and distractions such as using cellphones and headphones meant people often don't consciously check for trains, she said.

Kiwirail chief executive Peter Reidy said this year's campaign has been developed as a result of an increasing trend in incidents involving pedestrians, particularly at urban level crossings.

"What we are seeing, from data from collisions and near collisions as well as reports from our train drivers and CCTV footage, is that people are failing to take due care when crossing at level crossings.

"Sometimes people cross the tracks after a train has passed but while the alarms are still operating. What they don't seem to realise is that there is often a train coming from the other direction."

Nicole Vreugdenhil

Nicole Vreugdenhil, her younger sister and her mother Karen, were driving through a railway track outside their Southland property when a train struck their car in 2002.
Nicole Vreugdenhil, her younger sister and her mother Karen, were driving through a railway track outside their Southland property when a train struck their car in 2002.

Vreugdenhil, her younger sister and her mother karen, were driving through a railway track outside their southland property when a train struck their car in 2002.

Karen who was driving the car, died instantly and Nicole's younger sister walked away with minor injuries. "It is amazing I survived at all," says Nicole.

"I suffered a severe head injury and was in an induced coma in Dunedin Hospital for over a week.

"When I came out of the coma, I couldn't walk or talk and doctors doubted I would ever make a full recovery."

Willy Palmer

Willy Palmer has been working on the railways for 26 years. The worst part of driving trains is the "walk of death" - which is when a person is hit.
Willy Palmer has been working on the railways for 26 years. The worst part of driving trains is the "walk of death" - which is when a person is hit.

Palmer has been working on the railways for 26 years. While he loves his job, he said the worst part of driving trains is the "walk of death".

"That's what happens when we hit a person on the tracks.

"We have to walk back along the railway lines, wondering exactly where and what we'll find along the way," he says."It's a really hard thing to do but we have to do it.

"On the rare occasions that the person is still alive, it becomes our job to look after them until the emergency services people arrive."

Joseph Butters

Joseph Butters, four years old at the time, left for preschool one morning in 2003 when a van he was travelling in, with nine other children, collided with a freight train in Wanganui.
Joseph Butters, four years old at the time, left for preschool one morning in 2003 when a van he was travelling in, with nine other children, collided with a freight train in Wanganui.

Four-year-old Joseph Butters left for preschool one morning in 2003 when a van he was travelling in, with nine other children, collided with a freight train in Whanganui.

His mother Suzanne Butters said doctors initially gave him a 5 percent chance of surviving.

"He spent two weeks in a coma on life support, and after that we spent over three months in the Wilson Rehabilitation Centre in Auckland, where Joe had to learn to eat, walk and talk all over again."

Statistics on railway crossing incidents between 2010 to 2015 in Auckland

• Twelve people have been struck by a train
• 65 people have had near misses
• Five cars have been struck by trains
• 135 cars have had near misses
• One truck has been struck
• 23 trucks have had near misses

Source: KiwiRail

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 02 Oct 2016 08:46:26 Processing Time: 36ms