Install necessary and the only acceptable Safety requirements at Northpark Rail Crossing, Ashburton. Bells, Lights and Barrier Arms.
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A Truck driver heading East crossed the uncontrolled Northpark Road railway crossing shortly after 9am on May 29 2013 – unaware of the southbound train bearing down on him.
By the time he heard the train it was too late; it ploughed into the truck causing extensive damage to both the train engine and the semi-trailer unit. Luckily, in this instance neither driver was injured.
On Monday July 7th 2014 at this same intersection a truck v train incident this time resulted in the death of George Ellis, a 22 year old truck driver from Hawkes Bay and friend of many in Ashburton. In the space of just over a year this intersection has claimed one life and could easily have taken a second .
Before this, the controversial crossing had already cost a life – David Nigel Dunham was killed there on March 22, 2002. At his inquest the coroner, the late Laurence Cooney, called for an urgent inquiry into the Northpark Road crossing, saying safety measures needed urgent consideration. In addition, crashes were recorded at the crossing in 1982 and 1990, and according to neighbours there have been many close calls. In 2002 Mr Cooney requested barrier arms, lights and warning bells be installed at the intersection.
Northpark is a busy rail crossing used by many people every single day and numbers are growing consistently. Currently there is a Give Way sign erected at the crossing , however during peak hours of the day this is effectively useless due to Sun strike. Drivers heading East in the Morning and West at night experience the strong and often blinding sun in their faces.
In July 2013 a local Transport business owner funded the installation of stop signs at this crossing, making an obvious difference to awareness of the risk at this intersection. But after a few months these were needlessly and without explanation removed by Kiwirail.
For many years now, going as far back as the 1990's there has been continued discussion with controlling bodies to have appropriate and safe signals at this crossing. Signals that are effective. Bells , Lights and Barrier Arms are the only acceptable and safe solution . To this date the crossing is still without these and in a position to claim further lives. For years now NO ownership has been taken and cost has been mentioned as a factor… What cost can you put on a human life ?
It is critical that all Road Users, not just from the Trucking industry , and including all Residents and visitors to the wider Mid Canterbury community have their say, that is the purpose of this petition. Lets make this happen !
The Round table, closed door buck passing must stop! Effective immediately Kiwirail needs to take ownership for the safety of road users as well as their own staff ! The Ashburton Northpark Rail crossing needs adequate and necessary safety devices put in place. Bells, Lights and Barrier Arms.
Please take a moment to support, to have your say and to send this on. Ashburton needs this crossing to be safe for everyone.
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