Info sheet 6 Rail safety advice (for teachers) Key messages for rail safety 1. 2. 3. 4.
Stand safely on the platform. Cross railway tracks at legal crossings only. Stop, look both ways and listen before you cross. Stay away from electric wires and off the rail corridor.
Problem areas for primary aged school children The following behaviours have been identified as problem areas for primary aged school children: Sitting on the edge of the platform, or standing too close to the edge. Playing on the platform. Crossing the tracks illegally. Running onto the tracks after a ball, pet or sibling. Playing chicken on the tracks. Walking in rail tunnels or on rail bridges. Playing and walking through the rail corridor. Failing to recognise that there are double tracks. Failing to stop, look and listen when crossing railway tracks. Riding bikes, scooters or skateboards on platforms. Different types of trains Trains provide transport for people and freight across New Zealand. They operate on rail networks and use a locomotive to pull along carriages or freight wagons. Long distance passenger trains These run between cities and towns stopping at stations to pick up people along the way. A passenger train has a locomotive, a number of passenger carriages and a luggage van. Commuter trains Commuter trains operate in both Auckland and Wellington metropolitan areas and take people from the suburbs to the city. Most
Page 1 of 6
commuter trains are multiple unit sets of up to eight carriages which can be driven from either end, so they don’t need to be turned around. All other commuter trains are pulled by locomotives. Freight trains A freight train is used to move containers and other freight from one destination to another. A freight train is led by one or more locomotives and can have up to 60 wagons following behind. More facts about trains Length of trains A train can be over a kilometre in length, which is equal to the length of more than 10 rugby fields. Weight of trains An average train weighs 1,500 tonnes, which is equal to 1,000 cars. A locomotive engine without wagons or carriages weighs 100 tonnes.
Back draft If a train is driving right through a station it will be going quite fast. As it passes it creates a suction of wind, called a back draft. If people are standing too close to the edge of the platform they could be blown over, or even sucked under the train. People should stand at least 1.5 metres back from the edge of the platform. Trains can’t stop quickly A child might think that if a train is in the distance there is plenty of time for them to cross the tracks safely. However, trains go fast and because they are heavy they wouldn’t be able to stop in time if there was a person on the line. Double tracks Two railway tracks running side by side are called double tracks. There is usually a space of three metres between double tracks. Trains could come from either direction at the same time. Children may not realise this. If one train has passed they may think it is safe to cross and be hit by a second train coming from the other way. A train is wider than the tracks Train tracks are about one metre wide. A train can be 2.5 – 2.8 metres wide ( this includes the width of wagons and containers). A child may not realise this and stand too close to the tracks while waiting to cross. The area of land on either side from the middle of the track is called the rail corridor. Tracks and the rail corridor are for trains only. Trains are quiet You can’t always hear a train coming. Trains are surprisingly quiet and can be quite close to you without you realising it. Tunnels A tunnel is 3 metres wide. A train is 2.5 – 2.8 metres wide. So when a train travels through a tunnel there is very little space between the train and the wall of the tunnel. A person may think they could outrun the train, but this is Page 2 of 6
impossible. The average speed of a moving train is around 80k/hr. As you can never be sure when a train is coming, you should never go into a rail tunnel. Rail bridges Train bridges are only 2.1 metres wide, while a train is 2.5 - 2.8 metres wide. This means that the train will overhang the sides of the bridge. So, there is no place for people to go if a train comes, except off the side of the bridge. As you can never be sure when a train is coming, you should never go on a rail bridge. The rail corridor â€“ single and double tracks
Page 3 of 6
Rail tracks are about one metre wide. The area of land five metres on either side from the middle of the track is called the rail corridor. The three metre area of land between double tracks is also part of the rail corridor. Tracks and the rail corridor are for trains only. The Railways Act The Railways Act 2005 has been set up to protect people from the dangers associated with railways. The Act makes it illegal to be on the rail corridor, except at designated crossing places. It is a criminal offence to cross or walk along the rail corridor. The penalty for doing this is a fine of up to $20,000 or six months imprisonment. Railway workers are the only people permitted to be on the tracks and they must follow strict safety rules. This also applies to railway yards, where there is an additional danger of trains being shunted back and forth. How do pedestrians cross rail tracks safely? Pedestrian rail crossings have been built to allow people to safely cross the railway line. People should always stop, look both ways and listen to make sure no trains are coming before crossing. Pedestrian crossing Pedestrian crossings are protected by warning signs before and at the crossing. They can have bells, automatic alarms, barrier arms, and/or signs advising people to look for trains before they cross. Some pedestrian crossings have mazes. A maze is a zigzag path before and after the railway tracks. It means that a person has to zigzag through barriers before reaching the railway tracks. This slows people down and makes sure that they turn to look in both directions to see if a train is coming. The zigzags also give people time to hear an approaching train. There are signs advising people to look for trains before they cross. Pedestrian bridges A pedestrian bridge can link a car park to the railway platform or go from one side of the rail corridor to the other. It allows a person to walk over the railway tracks even when a train is on the tracks. Pedestrian underpass A pedestrian underpass goes underneath the railway track. It can be from a car park to the railway platform or from one side of the rail crossing to the other. It means that people can walk safely underneath the railway tracks, even when a train is on the tracks. Level crossings A level crossing is where a road crosses the railway tracks. There are public and private level crossings. Public crossings All crossings on public roads have warning signs and most have markings on the road. These crossings may also have alarm bells, flashing lights and barrier arms. Like a road crossing, a level crossing has rules to help those
Page 4 of 6
using the rail and road to stay safe. Trains have the right of way at all times. Remember to obey the warning signs. Private crossings Most private crossings are on driveways or access roads to a single property such as a farm. Private crossings are required to have appropriate signage. If they have little traffic the signage will be at the lower end of the scale (St Andrewâ€™s Cross, Give Way Sign). If there is a high traffic volume there will be a higher level of protection. Useful terms Back draft A suction of wind created by a moving train. Barrier arms Red and white metal arms that come down at a level crossing when a train is coming to stop vehicles crossing the railway tracks. Bogies The wheels that a railway vehicle runs on. There will be either four or six wheels. Capacity The amount/weight of goods that a vehicle can carry. Commuter train A train that carries people to work or school. Commuter A person who travels quite a distance between their home and work or school. Compulsory stop A red and white sign with the words STOP and Railway Crossing at a level crossing. All vehicles must stop at the sign. Container A large metal box used to transport goods by road, sea, air or rail. Double tracks Two sets of railway tracks running side by side. Frequency How often a train runs. Freight train A train that carries freight (goods) from one place to another. It is led by a locomotive and can have up to 60 wagons behind. Freight Any goods carried by trains such as logs or cement, or smaller items carried in containers. Inertia The tendency of an object to remain stationary or in motion until an external force is applied. When a locomotive starts moving it takes a long time to stop because its own weight keeps it going. Legal Allowed by law. Level crossing Where a road crosses railway tracks. Locomotive A railway engine powered by diesel electrics or electricity that pulls the train along. Older locomotives may be powered by steam. Maze crossing A pedestrian crossing that has a zigzag path with railings before and after the railway tracks. Offence To do something which is illegal (breaks the law). Out of bounds A place where people are not allowed to go. Pantograph The device that collects electricity from overhead wires to make an electric locomotive run. Pedestrian bridge A bridge built over railway tracks that allows pedestrians to safely get to the other side of the tracks. Pedestrian rail crossing Places where people can cross the railway tracks legally. Penalty A punishment for breaking the law. Platform The place at a railway station where people wait for a train. Rail bridge Something built over a river, road or gorge to let trains cross. If it has rails it is a rail bridge.
Page 5 of 6
Rail corridor The area of land five metres on either side from the middle of the track. Railway infrastructure Everything relating to the provision of the track and its operation. Railway network A network of rail tracks along which trains run. A rail network is made up of tracks, bridges and tunnels. Railway premises Land, buildings or structures located near a railway line and used for the purpose of providing access to the stations and platforms. Railway sleeper A wooden or concrete beam laid crosswise under a railway track to support it. Railway station A place where people get on or off a train. Safety line Some platforms have a safety line which indicates the distance people should stand back from the platform edge in the interests of safety. The line can be a painted yellow line or a yellow tactile strip. People should stand well behind the line until the train has come to a stop. If the platform does not have a marked line, people should stand at least 1.5 metres back from the platform edge. Shunt To slowly push or pull a railway vehicle to make up or remove from a train. Signage A collection of signs that are used to give people information. Railway signs include such things as Compulsory Stop signs and signs that warn of a level crossing. Stopping distance The length of time it takes a moving object, such as a person or a vehicle, to come to a stop. Tracks Metal rails that trains run on. In New Zealand they are 1068 mm wide. For the purposes of this unit we have said â€œabout one metre wideâ€?. Travelling network The means by which a vehicle travels, such as a road for cars and railway tracks for trains. Trespass To go on someone elseâ€™s land, without asking if you can. Tunnel A long hole that has been made under the ground or through a hill. It may have tracks so that a train can run through it. Underpass A tunnel built under rail tracks to allow pedestrians to safely get to the other side of the tracks. Units The name given to train passenger carriages on some railway lines. Voltage The strength of an electric current is measured in volts.
Page 6 of 6