Thirty near-misses between cars and trains at Oamaru intersections so far this year have Oamaru Steam and Rail general manager Harry Andrew concerned.
The incidents, which were all recorded and reported to police, occurred at the crossings outside Steampunk, on Wansbeck St and in Pukeuri.
“At the Pukeuri crossing, I’ve seen people drive around a stopped car which was waiting for the train to pass, and sneak off over the tracks before the train passes,” Mr Andrew said.
Concern has been building for some time over the Tyne, Humber and Itchen streets railway crossing and the lack of awareness shown by motorists.
“We have had a serious amount of near-misses this year, which is a big concern, and people need to take a lot more care,” Mr Andrew said.
“The main problem area is where the steam train comes into the station. People never seem to look and sooner or later, there will be an accident and it will cost the driver of the vehicle thousands, because they are in the wrong,”Mr Andrew said.
“When the sirens sound to let people know a train is coming, it turns into a railway crossing, not a road crossing.”
Mr Andrew said he was working with the police and the council to find the best possible way of reducing the number of close calls in the area.
“We are looking at putting barriers up, because these may well be the only things which stop people from taking on the train.”
Another judder bar could be placed near the over-bridge to reduce the speed of cars coming up Humber St towards the railway track, signs could be put up, or the speed limit could be reduced to 30km/h.
“Police are now patrolling the area more and they will get caught,” Mr Andrew said.
“Rail safety in Oamaru is a big concern, especially involving the steam train.”
This week is Rail Safety Week.
By BRAYDEN LINDSAY
PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY
CONCERNED: From left, Harry Andrew John Paul and Frank Thomas are concerned at the number of people failing to take care at railway crossings.