Additional safety measures in the form of half arm barriers were installed at the Purnell Street level crossing in Wanganui this week. It is the first crossing to be upgraded by KiwiRail this financial year.
“The new safety measures should improve safety at the site by helping to physically prevent motorists from moving onto the tracks when a train is nearby,” says KiwiRail Infrastructure and Engineering General Manager Rick van Barneveld.
“The crossing had non-injury collisions in July 2004 and January 2010. These collisions and recent increasing numbers of freight trains on the line meant the level crossing moved up on our upgrade priority list.” “While public road level crossing collision figures have hit an all-time low, we still urge drivers and pedestrians to ensure intersections are clear before crossing.”
“We work hard to install physical warning measures such as barrier arms, flashing lights and bells but we also need drivers and pedestrians to remember that trains have the right of way at crossings.” “The collision average was previously around three per month but has now fallen to around one per month. This is a very positive reduction which has shown a declining trend since December 2009.”
“I think we can attribute some of the collision decline to the work we do to raise awareness about level crossing safety through various campaigns and our ongoing work to upgrade higher risk crossings around the country.”
There have been 60 public road level crossing collisions since 1 July 2009. Two of these were fatal.