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Impatient drivers at Tauranga train crossing

Traffic backed up on The Strand this morning as people waited for the train to go through. Supplied photos.

Witnesses along The Strand this morning have seen motorists lose their patience while waiting for a train to pass.

A caller to the 0800 SUNLIVE news hotline says they saw three cars go through the barriers while they were down.

“The train was stopped on the tracks for a while and the barriers had been down blocking the road, with the alarm bells ringing.

“Three vehicles drove around the barriers while they were down and the alarm bells were going.”

The train had stopped for more than five minutes, but no longer than 10 minutes, says another person.

The offical New Zealand road code states:

At railway level crossings controlled by signals, bells and barrier arms

Many railway level crossings are controlled by flashing red signals, bells and/or barrier arms, as shown below.

You must stop if the signals have started flashing, the bells have started ringing and/or the barrier arm has started to lower.

Don't cross until the barrier arms have lifted, the lights have stopped flashing and the bells have stopped ringing.

Giving way at railway level crossings

A railway level crossing is a point where the road crosses over a railway line. This means you drive over the railway tracks and could come into the path of a train. Because of this, you need to be very careful around railway level crossings to avoid a very serious crash.

Crossing a railway level crossing

The signs below are some of the signs you may see when coming up to a railway level crossing.

When you see one of these signs:

  •   •  slow down and be ready to stop

  •   •  as you come up to the railway crossing, search up and down the railway line. You will need to search further up the railway line, as trains often travel at a higher speed than vehicles on the road

  •   •  cross only if you are sure there are no trains coming in either direction and there are no vehicles stopped in front of you on the other side of the crossing.

At railway level crossings controlled by a Stop sign or Give Way sign

Railway level crossings that aren't controlled by signals, bells or barrier arms may be controlled by a Stop sign or a Give Way sign.

At railway crossings controlled by Stop or Give Way signs:

  •   •  make sure you can see in both directions along the railway line

  •   •  if there is a Stop sign, come to a complete stop before the railway line (there will usually be one or two yellow lines showing you where to stop)

  •   •  only cross the railway line if you are sure that there are no trains coming in either direction and there are no vehicles stopped in front of you on the other side of the crossing

  •   •  take extra care if there is more than one railway line.

Important safety advice for railway level crossings

  •   •  Never try to cross the railway line unless there is enough space for your vehicle on the other side of the line.

  •   •  Never pass a vehicle that has stopped for a train.

  •   •  Never try to race a train over the crossing.

Following other vehicles over railway level crossings

Take special care when following other vehicles when coming up to a railway level crossing. Some vehicles (such as buses and vehicles carrying dangerous goods) are legally required to come to a complete stop before crossing, even when there are no lights flashing or bells ringing.

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Rail crossing

Posted on 11-02-2019 12:04 | By rosbo

Don’t blame the drivers. Blame the train driver for stopping where the track circuitry activated the lights and barriers. If he had stopped 2 metres earlier all would have been well

Regulation shortcomings

Posted on 11-02-2019 11:07 | By SonnyJim

As with most regulations, they are written from the purist point of view. Left out are the if/but situations of reality. So in the case of railway crossing arms not lifting for hours the Regulations fall short and offer no advice at all. I have been waved through elsewhere by a pedestrian helper a number of times in my driving life. The train in this case must have stopped past the sign that says "Stop Here to prevent activating crossing arms" (or such-like). The train driver knows the crossing is activated as there is a flashing light directed both ways at approaching trains so I guess the driver accidentally progressed too far when stopping (parking) and chose not to ’back-up’. (No guard’s van these days to take control) - Any comment from NZ-Rail ? Maybe an underground connection Chapel St/rail bridge one day ?