Train deaths soar in Auckland
The death of a man who was hit by a train in Avondale on Wednesday night takes the number of collisions with pedestrians in Auckland to a six-year high.
The incident, which happened at St Georges Rd about 7pm, was the sixth train-versus-pedestrian collision of the year, though not all were fatalities.
A KiwiRail spokeswoman said every death or injury on the tracks was avoidable and people needed to recognise the hazards and pay more attention to warning signs and signals.
"Our message is 'Use your brain, tracks are for trains'. We encourage people to stay alert around train tracks, to only ever cross at legal pedestrian crossings and to always remove their headphones and not use cellphones when crossing tracks," she said.
While trespassing was the leading cause of rail-related fatalities in New Zealand, the majority of those were incidents of self-harm.
There have also been 11 collisions between trains and cars this year, a significant drop from previous years but there was no clear pattern in train crashes since 2003.
KiwiRail said incidents where members of the public were injured or killed were also hard on the train drivers, who were given as much time off as they needed as well as the option of counselling.
Train collisions - Vehicles/Pedestrians
2003: 31 4
2004: 33 4
2005: 36 3
2006: 16 6
2007: 23 0
2008: 20 5
2009: 31 0
2010: 22 2
2011: 16 2
2012: 11 6
Incidents this year
October 2: Firefighters have to remove a critically injured man from under a train, which hit him as he was crossing St Georges Rd in Avondale.
July 17: A 26-year-old man is critically injured when his car is dragged 15 metres along a railway line by a train at a level crossing on the Kapiti Coast.
July 11: A man is killed after being hit by a train in Mt Albert.
April 23: A woman breaks her ankle when a train drags her and her bike along at St Lukes.
April 5: Simondrai Jamie Robson, 35, dies when he slips under a train as it leaves the platform at Ranui.