KiwiRail is warning people to stay off railway tracks with growing numbers putting themselves at risk as the Main North Line rebuild between Christchurch and Blenheim gathers pace.
Work on the line this week includes putting the track back in place and surveying in preparation for returning the track to its proper position. Track work is continuing south of Lake Grassmere and is also underway between Hundalee and the Waiau River.
On-site inspections of bridges and geo-tech slumps and slips are continuing, and preparation for geo-tech testing is underway.
The substantial programme, part of the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance effort, involves more than 100 KiwiRail staff consultants and contractors.
“Because the line hasn’t been operating people have become complacent, and we are having some real problems with people accessing the railway line,” says South Island Network Services Manager Jeanine Benson.
“Activity on the line is increasing as our rebuild efforts gear up, and there will be vehicles and the possibility of work trains using it in the near future.
“Our staff have also seen people walking across our bridges.”
“Not only is this not safe, it is also illegal is go into the rail corridor without permission,” she says.
“People using level crossings on the line also need to be vigilant,” says TrackSAFE Foundation Manager Megan Drayton.
“Last week KiwiRail ran trains on the stretch of line between Spring Creek and Lake Grassmere. People need to remember to always look out for trains, obey the signs and signals at crossings and stay off the tracks at all times.
“Trains are deceptively quiet and they can't stop in a hurry or swerve to avoid anything on the tracks,” she says.
KiwiRail is working with Police on the issue.