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Danger zone . . . Sightseeing tourists put themselves at risk on the railway overbridge in Oamaru. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher and KiwiRail are calling for tourists to take more care around railway tracks at the southern end of Oamaru’s main street.

Tourists tempting fate by wandering along the railway overbridge from Humber St to Thames St have become a common sight in recent times.

Mr Kircher said the Waitaki District Council was concerned about the danger tourists put themselves in by walking on the bridge.

“This is an issue for KiwiRail and it is something they do need to be aware of,” he told the Oamaru Mail

“The solution needs to come from them, and as long as they have a reasonable response, we will be supportive.”

Mr Kircher believed people were venturing on to the tracks because they wanted to get a “photo with a difference”.

“Whether they believe there won’t be a train coming along while they are there, or that they can get out of the way in time, I don’t know.

“It is a real risk when they go too far along the track that they won’t be able to get out of the way.”

About 40 train services pass through Oamaru every week.

It was important to Mr Kircher and the council that people kept off the tracks.

“None of us want our locals or visitors injured or killed.

“I think this behaviour carries a higher risk than they realise.

“KiwiRail needs to be made aware of it, and needs to look at reasonable options to warn people more clearly of that risk.”

KiwiRail zero harm general manager Katie McMahon, when contacted by the Oamaru Mail, said she was also concerned about the potential risk to people walking on the bridge.

“Trains are fast, heavy, and cannot stop easily,” Ms McMahon said.

“The escape options for people caught on rail bridges by trains are even more limited.”

Walking on rail bridges or any other part of the rail corridor was illegal without proper permission and safety equipment.

“We would urge anyone who sees people trespassing on any part of the rail network to immediately contact the police,” she said.

Ms McMahon said the company had ongoing issues with people trespassing on its rail bridges across the country.

In the past five years, KiwiRail had received only one report of a person walking on to the bridge. The person was not identified as a tourist.

Following an inquiry made to KiwiRail about recurring incidents on the bridge, an investigation has been undertaken.

“We have asked our teams to look into this issue and investigate what further measures could be put in place to deter this behaviour,” Ms McMahon said.