Bells, lights, barriers false alarm

SANDRA CROSBIE
Last updated 15:15 18/08/2014
barrier
SANDRA CROSBIE/FAIRFAX NZ
Police were called upon to help direct traffic in Feilding this morning after a malfunction set off the lights, bells and barrier arms at rail crossings throughout town.

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Malfunctioning barrier arms wreaked havoc in Feilding today as queues of drivers were held up on their morning commute.

The malfunction, affecting almost all the crossings around the township, had the bells ringing and lights flashing in addition to bringing all the barrier arms down - without a train in sight, about 8.30am.

A KiwiRail spokeswoman said there was an issue with the external power supply, which caused the warning technology at the crossings to ''fail safe''.

Police were called to assist with traffic congestion, and set to directing traffic at various locations around the barrier arms to ease delays.

The malfunction went on for about 20 minutes.

It was not the first time the barrier arms had malfunctioned according to Feilding Police Senior Sergeant Phil, who said they were notified of a similar incident about 8.30pm on Friday.

KiwiRail central regional manager John Skilton said a standby generator had been activated in Feilding to ensure the alarms only operated when they were supposed to.

Train detection circuitry was fed from a local power company's power supply.

''The voltage of this power has been fluctuating and has at times dropped to a level where the train detection circuitry is unable to operate and in this situation the train detection will fail safe and behave as if there is a train present.''

The power company was looking into the issue, he said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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