The driver of a truck which collided with a train this
morning has been airlifted to Christchurch Hospital.
The incident occurred shortly after 8am on the Northpark Rd
crossing, which was due for upgrade within months.
A southbound train struck the westbound truck, belonging to
WaterForce, shunting it about 20m from the crossing. The cab
of the truck was extensively damaged by the impact.
The driver of the truck was taken to Ashburton Hospital with
serious injuries and was later flown to Christchurch
KiwiRail said the train driver was "very shaken" by the
"Our first priority in incidents like this is the welfare of
those involved -- our thoughts are with the driver of the
truck involved and his family," said senior communications
advisor David Miller.
"Our train driver was very shaken by the incident -- he will
be given some time off and offered counselling, as is our
The level crossing, which has 'Give Way' signs and 'Railway
Crossing' signs, is scheduled to be upgraded with new
flashing lights and bells within the next two to three
There had been two previous collisions at the level crossing,
which is used by about 900 vehicles per week day.
It was the scene of another crash involving a truck in May
last year. Sunstrike was blamed on that occasion.
In 2002 a motorcyclist was killed at the crossing after he
was struck by a train.
"We would like to remind motorists to approach all level
crossings with care -- trains can be travelling faster than
they appear, cannot stop quickly or swerve," said Mr Miller.
"Motorists need to be prepared to stop and check there are no
trains coming from either direction before entering a
- Michelle Nelson of the Ashburton Guardian and Kurt Bayer