Police investigate Henderson fatality; earlier, in Manurewa, locomotive came within 20m of hitting baby in pram.

West Auckland police are investigating an incident in which a woman was struck and killed by a train today.

The 46-year-old is thought to have been crossing the tracks on Great North Rd, immediately outside the Corban Estate Arts Centre in Henderson, when she was hit.

Emergency services were called to the scene shortly before 4pm, but she died at the scene.

A police spokeswoman said: "At this stage it is not known how the lady has come to be in the path of the train but it appears the incident has occurred away from the level crossing, approximately 100m north."

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Police gathered at the scene, walking up and down the tracks and surrounding the body before a hearse arrived about 5pm.

Some train schedules were affected as a result of the incident and two trains stopped at the scene as authorities carried out their work.

Videographer Daniel Hines said the woman's body appeared to be covered by large tarpaulins and police had closed nearby walkways.

There were traffic diversions in place on Great North Rd.

The woman's death followed a near-miss earlier today in Manurewa.

An Auckland train driver's vigilance averted what could have been a fatal outcome for a baby whose pram rolled onto the tracks in the morning, the Rail and Maritime Transport Union said.

Police have cordoned off part of the railway tracks near Corban Estate.
Police have cordoned off part of the railway tracks near Corban Estate.

The baby's father had managed to get one baby out of the double pram before the train pulled into the Te Mahia train station in Manurewa at 8.50am.

However, a second baby remained in the pram.

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Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said the train, which was coming in to stop, managed to pull up about 20m away from the pram.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union general secretary Wayne Butson commended the train driver's quick reaction.

"The driver was being extremely vigilant and acted immediately.

"Imagine if the driver was staring out the window - we would be talking about a different outcome."

He speculated the tracks would have been dry at the time of the incident, which would have made the train easier to stop.

Trains were "not a wheelbarrow", Mr Butson said.

"You can't just drop the handles and stop it. All you do is put the brakes on and you become a very, very reluctant spectator.

"You'll see the face of the person. They'll lock eye contact with you and then it happens. It's terrible."

Throughout the years, Mr Butson had seen drivers' careers ruined due to their trains hitting a pedestrian or car.

"It can leave lasting scars. We have had train drivers who had hit a person and this has damaged them so severely they couldn't drive trains any more.

"They've lost their career, lost their income through absolutely no fault of their own."

Mr Butson said the union had negotiated with rail employers so train drivers who were involved in accidents were stood down immediately for a minimum of three days. The crew on the train were also stood down.

They would be provided with counselling, with the main message being "It's not your fault".

"You're just doing your job and you shouldn't take any ownership and responsibility for what happened."

Mr Butson wished people would "respect the tracks".

"I've seen people busy doing something else and their prams rolling away. This isn't a one-off event. These events keep happening."

He wished rail corridors were fully fenced, as in many countries around the world. "Despite all of the signage and advertising, we seem to see this happening all the time."