25 Oct 2018

Coroner probes train speeds after death of 11-year-old

7:32 pm on 25 October 2018

A coroner has asked KiwiRail to confirm whether it can slow trains down after an 11 year old died on tracks in Ngāruawāhia.

No caption

Photo: Wikicommons

Moareen Rameke was playing on the tracks with a friend on 18 March when she was hit by a train.

As the train approached the bridge at 60km/h, it sounded its whistle and arm barriers went down.

The friend managed to jump out of the way.

KiwiRail operations manager Henare Clark told the Coroner Gordon Matenga that it is possible Moareen could have survived if the train was travelling at 50 kilometres an hour.

Mr Clark said slowing down trains can be dangerous for staff, because people can jump on board.

Coroner Matenga has reserved his decision for a week until KiwiRail can provide an official response about slowing the train.

A statement taken on the day from a locomotive engineer on the train was also supplied as evidence to the inquest.

In a written statement Mike Fleck said he and the driver knew they had hit Moareen.

He said they knew she wasn't running fast enough to avoid being hit, but he and the driver, who was a trainee, had done all they could to slow the train.

Mr Fleck said he advised train control of the incident, then he and the driver walked back to the scene.

There they were called child killers by members of the family.

They had already slowed down to 60kmh because of a curve ahead of the bridge, and had sounded the whistle as a precaution.