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Trespassing

You are trespassing if you cross or walk along railway tracks at any place other than a designated level crossing.

Trespassers struck by trains is the leading cause of public railway deaths in New Zealand and around the world. 

More than 100 people have died in New Zealand in the past ten years on railway tracks, tunnels and bridges.*  

Trespassing is illegal under the Railways Act 2005. 

You can be fined up to $10,000 if you are convicted of trespassing on railway tracks.  

A significant number of trespasser deaths are considered to be intentional.

If you witness anyone trespassing on the railway or crossing where they shouldn't you should report it immediately to the Police.

(*NZ Transport Agency, 2017) 

Why is trespassing dangerous? 

Trains are quiet

Most people think they will hear if a train is approaching but trains do not make much noise and you will not always hear one approaching.   Trains travelling on the electrified rail network are almost completely silent.   

Trains are fast

Trains travel faster than you think.  People commonly misjudge the speed of an approaching train, and research has proven that trains travel faster than they appear.  

Trains cannot stop

Trains cannot stop or swerve.  Unlike a car, a train is guided by the rails and train drivers are not able to stop in a hurry or swerve to miss a person on the tracks. A fully laden freight train can take up to a kilometre to stop.

Some trains can overhang the tracks so you can still be hit if you are standing some distance from the tracks.

Always stand at least two full metres away from the tracks - fast trains can create a vacuum that can suck you under the train.

This safety rule also applies to people standing on train platforms.

Aside from the obvious harm that can be caused to a person trespassing, this behaviour causes an enormous amount of personal distress to locomotive engineers and other railway staff.   

Find out how train driver Willy Palmer feels about people trespassing on the rail corridor. 

Download this Fact Sheet on the law around the rail network and how to stay safe.


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Latest news

Safety Leadership Award Announced

Friday, February 17, 2017

Rail industry safety expert Robert (Bob) Lupton was today announced as the inaugural winner of the TrackSAFE NZ Safety Leadership Award. 

The award was established late last year to recognise significant leadership in railway safety in New Zealand.

Chairman of TrackSAFE NZ Peter Reidy says Mr Lupton received the award for his outstanding contribution to safety over his 32 year career in New Zealand and overseas.

“Mr Lupton’s continued contribution has appreciably influenced rail safety in New Zealand across a number of organisations,” Mr Reidy says.  “He has an outstanding reputation for providing sound advice and growing and supporting those around him and is fully deserving of this special award.”

Mr Lupton has worked in a number of roles in the rail industry throughout his career, most recently as the Rail Systems Safety and Assurance Manager for the City Rail Link project.   

In that role he provided leadership, mentoring and guidance to the City Rail Link safety assurance and construction safety teams.

Among Mr Lupton’s many achievements are leading the development of the Britomart Safety Management System and responsibility for safety management during the transition to Auckland’s electrified network.  This included crashworthiness risk assessments for the new Auckland electric rolling stock.

Mr Lupton is an executive member of the New Zealand National Rail System Standards Executive committee, and continues to provide expert rail safety advice to the City Rail Link one of New Zealand's largest transport projects.

The award was presented today to Mr Lupton at Auckland Transport offices, in front of industry representatives.  Read more

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