Strays Getting In The Way


There have been 16 incidents of livestock on tracks being hit by trains in the last 3 months around NZ.

KiwiRail say the incidents “don’t end well for the animals, “and often delay services.

Eleven of the 14 incidents were for roaming cattle, two for sheep, one for deer, and two for unidentified ‘stock’. Two of those incidents occurred last week, when wandering cattle were hit by trains.

KiwiRail Network general manager Rick van Barneveld said that under the law, the onus is on the owners of the livestock, or the person in charge of them, to ensure they do not wander onto the rail lines. When trains are damaged in the incident, costs can be recovered from farmers.

One recent incident in the Wairarapa saw cattle make their way onto the rail corridor by pushing against an old wooden gate, which had become rotten, and breaking it down.

An early morning freight train then hit the cattle, killing two and injuring others. Police had to kill one due to its injuries.

The collision closed the track, because the train was damaged and needed repairs and the track had to be inspected. This cancelled commuter trains from the Wairarapa, forcing hundreds of people onto buses, delaying their arrival at work.

“The cost to KiwiRail was in the tens of thousands of dollars, and, no doubt, the cost to the farmer was also substantial for the loss of three cattle beasts.



  1. Martin says:

    This would be greatly reduced if Kiwirail bothered to full fence in it’s network.

  2. rtc says:

    You mean if Kiwirail was funded to fence in its network, in days of government cut backs to fund more motorways, fences are pretty far down the list of priorities.


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