The mother of a schoolgirl killed at a level crossing in Carterton last year has spoken out to plead for more safety improvements at the crossing.
Carterton schoolgirl Grace Diedrichs, 15, was killed on February 17 last year when the ute in which she was a passenger struck the side of a southbound commuter train at the Wiltons Rd crossing in Carterton.
The driver of the car, Grace's boyfriend Jonathan Painter, survived the crash and was later charged with dangerous driving causing death, to which he pleaded not guilty.
On Tuesday he pleaded guilty at Wellington District Court to a lesser charge of aggravated careless use of a motor vehicle causing death. He is due to be sentenced next month.
Grace's mother Sally Diedrichs today told APNZ her daughter's death was the second to occur at the level crossing.
Carterton man Daniel Quin was killed when he drove his ute into the side of a train in May 2002.
"My understanding is that out of the 46 families that live in the immediate area of that railway crossing, 35 of them have all had a serious incident with the train," she said.
"They've since put some little judder bar lines on the road which I think is a really good improvement, I think more could be done but I believe that it is a cost issue."
Mrs Diedrichs declined to comment on the court case which arose from the accident.
KiwiRail spokesman David Miller said the Wiltons Rd crossing was protected by "Stop" and "Railway Crossing" sign combinations.
Given the crossing carried fewer than 170 vehicles per day it was not on KiwiRail's upgrading priority list.
"We do review the risk rating for level crossings, taking into account a range of factors, including the collision history and any recent change in vehicle traffic.
"According to our records, there were no collisions at this crossing in the 10 years prior to last year's incident, and two collisions were recorded in 2002, one of which was fatal."
However following a 10-year campaign from Wiltons Rd resident Janine Vollebregt, rumble strips, which KiwiRail said may be the only ones of their kind used at a level crossing in the country, were installed on each side of the crossing last year, giving drivers a jarring warning to stop.
Painter's mother Sheree Painter declined to comment when contacted.
- additional reporting Wairarapa Times Age.