19 Oct 2015

Transport Agency happy with train decision

7:49 pm on 19 October 2015

The Transport Agency has defended its decision not to prosecute a Coromandel tourist rail operator after a toddler fell from a slow-moving train as it crossed a bridge.

Driving Creek Railway

Driving Creek Railway Photo: WikiCommons

An investigation by the agency concluded that the 19-month-old boy appeared to have opened a compartment gate while his parents were momentarily distracted.

The child then fell 9m down a ravine, fracturing his jaw in the accident in June.

The Transport Agency said it deemed it appropriate to require corrective actions rather than prosecute, after considering Driving Creek Railway's circumstances and operating history and the findings of the investigation.

It had required the company to introduce a safety policy for passengers aged under, install effective secondary latches, reassess the design of central compartments in two of its railcars to ensure the sides were an appropriate height, and assess the risk of all bridges.

It would also analyse other operators and said it would require them to come up with appropriate actions if similar risks were found.

The Transport Agency said while the child was not seen opening the gate, a witness saw him standing on the compartment floor with the gate closed just before the accident occurred.

Shortly after that, his mother saw her son falling down through the then opened gate.

Witnesses confirmed the gate latch had been secured by the driver when the train departed from the terminus building.

Driving Creek Railway declined to comment until it received more information from the agency.