Last delivery of the day for lucky driver

17:40, Feb 06 2014

A courier driver who needed to make a delivery to a house should have thought twice before parking his van on train tracks.

His van was, unsurprisingly, wiped out by a passing train.

The bizarre incident at Oaro, near Kaikoura, about 6.10pm on Wednesday came as train drivers are experiencing an alarming "spate" of near misses with motorists at crossings, particularly in the South Island.

Kaikoura police responded to the incident, but no-one was hurt in the collision, a police spokesman said.

The driver was delivering the parcel at the house when the van was hit.

KiwiRail and police are urging motorists to obey level crossing warnings after 19 near collisions since the start of the year, where drivers crossed in front of approaching trains.


Twelve were at crossings protected by flashing lights and bells, in four incidents the motorists drove around other vehicles which had stopped, and one driver had to swerve to avoid the train.

KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn urged people to heed warnings, be patient, and not put themselves and passengers at risk.

"There is no journey so important that it can't wait a couple of minutes," he said.

"Trains are large and heavy, can be travelling faster that they appear and simply cannot stop quickly. There is nothing our train drivers can do when confronted with a situation like this other than to sound their horn and hope for the best. It is a very distressing situation for them."

In 2013, KiwiRail recorded 107 near collisions with vehicles at level crossings - 43 per cent at crossings with flashing lights and bells operating and 40 per cent with half-arm barriers operating.

In 2012, there were 154 near collisions reported, 83 per cent of which were at crossings with active protection.

TrackSAFE NZ manager Megan Drayton said a disproportionate 63 per cent of "reckless and impatient" near collisions happened in the South Island.

Five out of the 19 were on the railway line between Rolleston and Greymouth, and four on the railway line between Christchurch and Invercargill.

Police inspector Mark Stables said it was a traffic offence to ignore warnings.

Kaikoura police were yesterday unavailable for comment about the courier van incident.

The Press