Train crash blamed on driver error

Driver error has been blamed for a train crashing into a concrete block at a Lower Hutt station last year.

One passenger was injured when a Wellington train hit a concrete safety block just before 8am, on April 15.

Nine passengers, a driver and guard were on the train when it hit the block at the end of the rail line.

KiwiRail general manager Deborah Hume said the company had finished its investigation into the incident.

" was concluded that the collision with the stop block was the result of driver error," she said.

"Testing by our engineers showed that the train's components, including the braking systems, functioned correctly and this was supported by data from the train's Tranzlog - the equivalent of the black box on an aircraft."

Ms Hume said that although the independent report by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission was yet to be released, to date they had not alerted KiwiRail to any systemic issues that required attention.

"KiwiRail is confident about the safety of the Matangi or Ganz Mavag services that are currently operating and would never operate any service if there were any issues or concerns regarding its performance."

The company's investigation into a similar incident at the same station last month was still continuing, she said.

In that incident, one person suffered minor injuries and another was treated for shock after the incident just after 8am, on May 27.

Witnesses said about 70 people were waiting for the train when it failed to stop and crashed into the concrete platform, eventually hitting a pole.

Ten passengers and two train crew were on board, and two passengers were treated in hospital.

Actions taken by KiwiRail:

* refresher courses and a review of defensive driver techniques for drivers;

* increased the number of safety briefings for staff;

* enhanced on-board emergency training for on-board staff members;

* continuing to promote a culture of safe driving practices through safety observations conducted by staff; and

* additional emergency exercises and training opportunities.

- Rebecca Quilliam of APNZ

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