Reasons for nuisance alarm tripping at Norfolk Road, Waingawa

Patrick Dunford made this Official Information request to KiwiRail

The request was successful.

From: Patrick Dunford

Dear KiwiRail,

Following a level crossing collision at Norfolk Road, Waingawa, I understand in the news media it was reported that local residents believe the crossing alarms trigger unnecessarily as a result of shunting movements in the Waingawa log loading sidings.

I believe the S&I diagram of Waingawa shows that controls are provided for the manual operation of the alarms by Kiwirail staff. If these controls are available, why would there be any situation where alarms are tripped by shunting movements?

Yours faithfully,
Patrick Dunford

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From: Dave Allard

Thanks Patrick - received.

I'll see what I can find out for you, I can't imagine it is a manually activated crossing, i.e that the staff would be setting them off. Rather that it is shunt movements in the yard that activate the alarms.
Here is what we said in the media following the collision at that crossing recently.

The Norfolk Road level crossing and the Norman Avenue level crossing are at either end of the Waingawa log yard. There are tracks in the yard, between the level crossings, where log trains are put together. This can involve wagons being shunted across the level crossings at times and, because signals for the two crossings are linked, shunt movements that come close to either level crossing can activate the bells and lights.

We appreciate that having to wait for shunt movements can be frustrating for motorists. However, to ensure safety, we urge everyone to be cautious when approaching any level crossing and comply with the requirement to stop when a level crossing's lights and bells are going.

KiwiRail has begun work upgrading the Wairarapa Line, which includes improving bridges, tracks and sleepers, signals and level crossing protections. In the next few years the Norfolk Road level crossing will have barrier arms added, and the new signalling system will separate the two crossings, reducing delays for motorists.

Is that sufficient to answer your query?


Dave Allard  | Senior Government Relations Advisor
DDI: 027 201 8182
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 I noted in my original request the design of the crossing alarm system at Norfolk Road as shown in the most recent S&I diagram that I have seen provides for manual control of the crossing alarms by staff, the intention is to prevent the nuisance activation of the crossing alarms. These systems are in use all around New Zealand.
The question then remains as to why the manual controls are not being used to prevent nuisance activation of the alarms when a train is shunting close to the crossing.

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Dunford

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