6 Mar 2013

KiwiRail refutes level crossing claim

4:41 pm on 6 March 2013

KiwiRail is refuting claims that its calculations around the danger at level crossings are incorrect.

The Auckland Council's transport committee met on Wednesday to discuss how to make crossings safer for pedestrians after a woman was critically injured by a freight train when her wheelchair got stuck in tracks at a level crossing at Morningside on 2 March.

Onlookers were not able to free her from the wheelchair before the train struck her.

Albert-Eden local board member Graeme Easte said KiwiRail's formula, which calculates the chances of an accident at a crossing, is wrong because it is designed for rural areas where there are fewer trains and less traffic.

Mr Easte told the committee that, based on KiwiRail's predictions there would be one accident every 26 years at Morningside, but he says in the past seven years there have been 12 near-misses and two collisions.

However, a KiwiRail spokesperson said on Wednesday the figures Mr Easte quoted did not come from them.