Choo Choo Choose Rail Safety!

The trains are back and so is Rail Safety Week.

With the trains moving back to the district’s tracks after ten months of absence, it’s timely that we highlight Rail Safety Week.  Trains are running on the northern line now servicing the rebuild at Kaikoura, and it looks like the whole network could be open within the next month.

As you will be aware, we have major rail crossings in two of our main town centres as well as a significant number across our district.  After the Kaikoura earthquakes, the train services stopped so it is a good opportunity to remind our community of key safety messages around rail tracks and railway crossings.  20170817 - Rail Safety

We see many kids in our district crossing railway tracks on their way to and from school often with headphones on.  The key message for pedestrians in Rail Safety Week is remove your headphones and remove your risk.

Other key tips for pedestrians are:

  • Only cross at formed pedestrian crossings
  • Stop and look for trains both ways up and down the tracks
  • Obey the warning signs at the crossing – if the lights are flashing then stop, don’t try and beat the train
  • If there is a pedestrian swing gate wait until it is fully open before crossing.

For our drivers in the district the most important safety tip is always keep tracks clear.  People rushing to get some place and impatient drivers can be fatal. It takes a train more than 200 metres to stop so please remember these key safety messages:

  • Never enter a level crossing if red lights are flashing. Wait for the lights to stop flashing before driving across railway tracks
  • Never drive under ascending or descending boom gates as an oncoming train is in the vicinity or a second train may be approaching
  • Never drive around boom gates when they are down - it is very likely that an oncoming train is close to the crossing
  • Never queue on a railway crossing - if you have stopped on a crossing and a train is approaching, immediately drive off the track or get out of your car and move clear. It is more likely than not, that the train will not be able to stop in time
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop
  • It is important to take extra care when approaching a railway crossing and get into the habit of stopping, looking and listening for any sign of a train
  • Not all railway crossings have warning bells and lights - for your own safety, always expect a train to be coming, keep your eyes open and your wits about you
  • Never race a train to a railway crossing
  • Trains can be travelling in either direction along the same track and on multiple tracks - be alert for more than one train passing through the crossing at the same time
  • Don't be fooled by an optical illusion - trains in the distance are often closer and travelling faster than they appear

For more information on Rail Safety Week go to