Whanganui drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are urged stay alert and cross carefully at railway crossings.

Kiwirail, police and Hoizons Regional council staff were at the Heads Rd rail crossing on Wednesday to promote the message for Rail Safety Awareness Week.

Locomotive engineer Grant Allen said there have been a number of close calls at the crossing and others in Whanganui.

"The message is to expect trains at any time and don't second guess the stopping distance and speed of trains.


"People think they know what times the trains are running but specials can happen any time," said Mr Allen.

A train driver for 43 years, Mr Allen said he has had five collisions with cars during his career.

"I'm one of the lucky ones - there were no fatalities but I know a driver who had a fatal collision on his first week after training.

"It is a horrible thing to live with - my experiences left me very shaken."

Horizons Regional Council roadsafe co-ordinator for Whanganui and Rangitikei, Glenda Leitao said there will be signs erected at both crossings on Heads Rd to help drive the message home.

"People take risks by driving over the tracks while the lights are still flashing because they have seen a train go by but that doesn't mean it's safe to cross because another train may be coming from the opposite direction.

Whanganui Police will be monitoring the crossings when they know trains are coming through said constable Trevor Scarrow.

"We are conscious of the issues around rail safety and we're on the look out for people taking risks," he said.

Mrs Leitao said the rail safety billboard placed close to the Union Line rail crossing in Marton last month as part of the rural rail safety campaign has attracted a lot of positive feedback.