Cairns crosses country for railway safety

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 17/08/2012
Rail safety campaigner Chris Cairns and his rail road crossing models
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ

CROSSING CAIRNS: Rail safety campaigner Chris Cairns and his rail road crossing models speak to kids at Fitzroy Primary School.

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Former international cricketer Chris Cairns had a strong message for Fitzroy Primary School children yesterday.

"Use your brain, tracks are for trains," Cairns, who didn't want children to become victims of level crossing accidents like the one that killed his sister, told the youngsters.

In 1993 Cairns' sister, Louise, died at a level crossing near Christchurch and he decided at some point he would do something about rail safety.

Visiting New Plymouth yesterday as part of an awareness week he said the point of setting up the Chris Cairns Foundation in 2006 was to keep communities educated and safe.

"In 2006 I finished playing cricket and before that I was on the road too much to commit enough time to it," he said. "Once we started putting it together we got lots of support. It's not about preaching, it's about awareness."

In the past 10 years in Taranaki there have been five crashes between trains and vehicles at level crossings.

In the same decade up to August 7 there has been only one pedestrian killed by a train and that was in 2004 on Egmont St.

Cairns said the focus of this year's campaign was deterring people from trespassing.

"Trespassing is the leading cause of deaths on the railway in New Zealand," he said.

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