Safety, Standards & Regulation

KiwiRail cautions truckies after spate of bridge strikes

KiwiRail is warning truck drivers of the impacts of bridge strikes after incidents where trucks hit rail bridges in Auckland.

KiwiRail is warning heavy vehicle drivers of the impacts of bridge strikes after two recent incidents where trucks hit rail bridges in Auckland, closing rail lines and disrupting the city’s train users.

The incidents are the latest in a string where vehicle drivers have misjudged the height of bridges and struck them, causing damage and train cancellations.

KiwiRail general manager operations for the Upper North Island, Reuben Araroa, said that five rail bridges had been struck in Auckland in recent weeks.

“Some disruptions can’t be planned for, such as the wild weather we experienced in June, but these types of incidents are entirely avoidable and yet we are seeing them happen at an alarming frequency,” Araroa said.

“Any strike in Auckland has the potential to disrupt thousands of members of the public who rely on the trains, along with our freight customers. It’s an extremely busy period for freight volumes and these bridge strikes delay the movement of goods in and out of Auckland.

“Every time a bridge is struck, a structures inspector needs to check over the bridge. Even if there is not substantial damage, we still have to close the line for a period while we make sure the bridge is safe for trains and people.”

One collision happened at Merton Road in Glen Innes and meant Eastern line services had to be diverted along the Southern line. Later that day, a truck struck a rail bridge at McPherson Road just outside Drury, closing the line for two hours. Trains were cancelled between Papakura and Pukekohe while KiwiRail staff inspected the bridge to ensure it was fit for trains to travel over.

“Bridge strikes are a growing problem and the message to motorists is to always obey the road signs which give plenty of warning of a low bridge,” Araroa said.

“If you think your vehicle or load is above the clearance height, then do not try to pass underneath. Take an alternative route.”

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