Recommendation Date
Recipient Name
The profile (specifically the rate of change in gradient) of the Beach Road level crossing at Paekakariki on the State Highway 1 side has been formed in such a way that those super-low-floor buses like the one involved in the Beach Road level crossing accident (or of similar design) are at risk of becoming stuck with their back ends foul of the railway tracks when they stop, as they are required to, at the stop sign before turning right to State Highway 1. In other words the same or a similar accident could happen again.

The Commission recommends to the Chief Executive of the NZ Transport Agency that as a matter of urgency he address this safety issue.
Reply Text
Following this collision incident, staff from the NZ Transport Agency, MWH (infrastructure consultants), KiwiRail and Kapiti Coast District Council met and implemented the following actions:

The NZ Transport Agency has erected a surveillance camera on-site and is currently monitoring the usage of this crossing by heavy vehicles, driver behaviour and the number of incidents caused by road profiling and/or stacking distances;

The design and profiling of the level crossing have been assessed. As a result, remedial work covering re-profiling the intersection and redesign of the splitter island to create room for a large vehicle to make a left turn in the situation when a right turn is not possible is underway. Works are expected to be completed by 16 May 2012 as part of a programmed carriageway rehabilitation scheme.

Aspects of the bus design have also been considered.

The Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass (the Rule) in table 4.1 specifically sets ground clearance requirements for all heavy vehicles based on a design to adequately clear level rail crossings and similar. The required clearance is the greater of 100 millimetres or 6% of the distance from the nearest axle to the point where the ground clearance is measured. The actual ground clearance of the bus does comply. It is noted that the bus has a manual override to lower the bus to facilitate ease of boarding by lowering passenger floor height. This feature is permitted under Rule when the vehicle is loading or unloading.

The NZ Transport Agency has also noted that a circular produced by the Bus and Coach Association has been distributed following this collision. It highlights this incident and particularly the Train Control emergency contact number. We are also aware that the Train Control emergency number has been added to the list of emergency contact numbers in all buses operated by the company involved in the collision.
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