Attempt to beat train goes badly

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 11:06 22/05/2013
barrier arm
Derek Flynn

A Kiwi Rail maintenance worker replaces the broken barrier arm at the Main St roundabout on SH1 in Blenheim yesterday.

Talley's truck
The Talley’s truck stopped between the train and an articulated lorry on the Main St roundabout.

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Vehicles ignoring alarm bells and flashing lights to beat the train at the Main St roundabout, is a daily occurrence, says Blenheim businessman Phil Brown.

Mr Brown witnessed a close shave about midday yesterday, when one of the barrier arms came down on top of a Talley's truck as it was driving through the train crossing.

The oncoming freight train's warning toots could be heard by business owners and motorists, before it ran over the buckled barrier arm, and stopped in the middle of the roundabout, he said.

''It's a daily occurrence, the problem is people don't stop for the warning lights and bells.

''They get half-way across the tracks before they realise there is not enough space for them on the other side.''

The train stopped on the level crossing, blocking State Highway 1 traffic for 10 or 15 minutes, he said.

BV Gourmet front of house manager Dave Wickens said it appeared the Talley's truck had tried to beat the barrier arm, but its path had been blocked by a slow-moving articulated lorry and trailer unit on the other side of the tracks.

Cafe staff would take bets on how many vehicles would get caught out by the barrier arms, because it happened so often, he said.

''One of these days it's not going to end well.''

A KiwiRail spokeswoman confirmed a truck had damaged the crossing barrier, and they had reported the incident to the police.

''It does tend to happen a little bit too often in Blenheim, motorists need to obey the level crossing road rules.  The alarms go on well before the arms come down.''

A KiwiRail maintenance worker attached a new arm yesterday afternoon, she said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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