Safety assessments for Marsh's Road Railway Crossing, Rangiora

Patrick Dunford made this Official Information request to KiwiRail

Response to this request is long overdue. By law KiwiRail should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Patrick Dunford

Dear KiwiRail,

Marsh's Road Railway Crossing, near Rangiora, has been the location of a number of level crossing accidents involving collisions between road vehicles and trains over many years. One was reported in the Press newspaper on 1 December 2020 and others have been reported in newspapers in the past.

It is obvious from examining the layout of the crossing that it compromises safety for road users by failing to address or remediate a number of issues listed below.

The request is to obtain Kiwirail's safety assessments for the railway crossing at Marsh's Road, Southbrook, Rangiora.

Substantive issues relating to this request are as follows:

* The adjacent four way intersection involving Marsh's Road, Station Road and Railway Road creates a high workload for vehicle drivers. This is likely to result in drivers whose path through the intersection includes crossing the railway, being distracted by the workload needed to safely navigate the uncontrolled road intersection, and therefore being unable to give sufficient attention to the important safety task of safely entering and exiting the uncontrolled level crossing if this is required for their travel.

* High workload for drivers was identified by TAIC as a key factor in a fatal level crossing accident at Rolleston on 25 August 1993. This level crossing was subsequently closed and replaced by a much safer crossing nearby.

* The level crossing is uncontrolled with no warning devices. This requires that drivers must be able to stop at the crossing and check there is no train in view in both directions. However this is impossible to achieve for vehicles approaching the crossing from the west side especially if they are turning off Railway Road because they will not have visibility in both directions because the turn is too close to the railway crossing. For vehicles coming off Station Road, they must be able to make this assessment before entering the intersection, at a point where their view of the railway track is likely to be impeded by other vehicles and the workload distraction issue mentioned above is also signficant.

* The crossing has insufficient stacking distance for vehicles approaching the railway crossing from the west. Stacking distance is essentially the distance needed for a vehicle to stop clear of the railway tracks safely. This affects the ability of vehicles approaching from the west to be able to stop clear of the intersection before entering the railway tracks. Vehicles crossing from the east side may be unable to clear the tracks before pulling up at the road intersection to wait for an opportunity to pass through the intersection safely in order to continue travelling in their chosen direction.

* There are a number of railway crossings in Waimakariri District that have similar safety issues including those where there have been accidents.

* Kiwirail has identified at least 362 crossings throughout New Zealand affected by insufficient stacking space. This list was provided to TAIC and is referred to in an article on their website watch list. The question is whether this crossing is included in the list, and what Kiwirail is intending to do in regard of crossings with this type of issue.

* Numerous similarly dangerous crossings exist around NZ yet there is no accountability or openness from Kiwirail regarding their level crossing safety programme. Information in the ALCAM website is blocked from open access.

* TAIC has highlighted in its website article that an unsatisfactory safety regime results in lack of public accountability for level crossing safety issues. This must include the lack of openness in the availability of information relating to railway crossing safety.

Yours faithfully,
Patrick Dunford

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From: Dave Allard

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Good afternoon Patrick

This email is to confirm we have received your OIA request – as specified
below, but broadly outlined as wanting KiwiRail's safety assessments for
the railway crossing at Marsh's Road, Southbrook, Rangiora.


KiwiRail received your request on 3 December 2020, and will endeavour to
respond to your request as soon as possible and in any event no later than
19 January 2021, i.e. 20 working days after the day your request was
received. If we are unable to respond to your request by then, we will
notify you of an extension of that timeframe.


If you have any queries, please feel free to contact me at this email, or
feel free to call on the number below.


Kind regards




Dave Allard  | Government Relations Advisor

DDI: +64 4 498 3218
Level 4, Wellington Railway Station, Bunny Street, Wellington 6011 | PO
Box 593, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

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From: Patrick Dunford

Dear Dave Allard,

As you can see this request has not been completed and I am still waiting for a response.

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Dunford

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Things to do with this request

KiwiRail only: