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Mike Kilsby

KiwiRail Locomotive Engineer Mike Kilsby says level crossing collisions impact on the whole family of a train driver, including their partners and children.

“My father also drove trains and as a child I can remember him coming home from work after being involved in a fatal level crossing accident.

These incidents had a huge impact on him personally and the resulting stress and emotional trauma he suffered affected our whole family.”

Mike is one of three generations of locomotive engineers – as he follows in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather.

“My grandfather was involved in a fatal collision on his very first trip as a fireman on a steam locomotive,” Mike says.

“He was heading out of the Linwood depot in 1941 and his train hit a car, killing the two occupants.  It was a tragic way for him to begin his job in the railways.”

Fortunately Mike has not been involved in any collisions, although he says he’s had a number of “very close calls”.

“People on the roads just need to take care and be aware of trains at level crossings at all times.  We have right of way, we can’t swerve, and we can’t stop the train in a hurry.

While Mike says driving trains is in his blood, he will always live in the hope that he is never involved in a level crossing collision.  

History

On 25 February 1976 the driver of a Manawatu Power Board truck was killed when his truck was stuck by a southbound goods train on the Hobson St level crossing in Feilding.  The vehicle was completely destroyed.  The train locomotive and 16 wagons were derailed in the accident and the main line was blocked for four days. (From the book     " Danger Ahead " by Geoffrey B Churchman).  


The driver of the locomotive was Mick Balfour (Mike Kilsby's grandfather ) and the Driver's Assistant was Jeff York.  Both were not harmed in the incident.  Mick Balfour retired five years after this collision.


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  • Nicole Vreugdenhil “It's amazing I survived at all”
  • Roni Jacobs “We now always stop at a Stop sign”
  • Ian Thornton “I've lost count of how many near misses I've had”
  • Cathy Turner “I miss my son Michael every day”
  • Joseph Butters “He will never be the boy he was going to be”
  • Mike Kilsby “It impacts on all your family and friends”
  • Paul Johansen “I wouldn't wish it on anyone, and I wish I hadn't been there”
  • Ray Burgess “They thought I would die so I know I'm one of the lucky ones”
  • Willy Palmer “We never want to see the horrific things we do”

Keeping safe


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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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