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Rail check

When Eddie Dargaville gets asked what he does for a living, he jokes that his business card should read 'professional crack finder'.

He says it receives a much better reaction than the quizzical looks he gets when he tells people his real job title is a non-destructible testing operator.

Every year Eddie travels the length and breadth of New Zealand's rail network checking for rail fatigue, cracks and fissures. Traversing nearly 4,000 kilometres over a period of six months, Eddie and a group of technicians inspect every inch of metal as they ride the main trunk, coal routes and the metropolitan service lines.

As one of only two people in the country trained in this task, his job is paramount in helping to ensure the safety of train drivers and their passengers and freight. And he is certainly qualified for the task, being the third generation of his family to be involved in New Zealand's railways.

While Eddie still occasionally checks for cracks by hand, his job is made much easier with the aid of a multi-million dollar truck that has been specially adapted to drive along the tracks. Produced by Lisa Thompson.

Rail check