Police officer shares personal tragedy as Rail Safety Week begins

Source: 1News

A Rangiora police officer who lost her entire family in a rail crash nearly 50 years ago is sharing her personal tragedy as Rail Safety Week begins today. 

The campaign hopes to prevent more collisions on our railway lines, with 163 people having died on the rail network in the past decade.

Kim Munro's mother was driving through a rail crossing with her younger brother and sister when it collided with a northbound train on May 3, 1976.

"It was dragged quite a way up the track — it was a mangled wreck," she said.

Her family all died instantly, leaving her "an orphan overnight".

Munro was not quite six years old at the time of the incident, and has few photos together with her mother and siblings.

She doesn't want anyone else to go through the same experience.

"It's a very personal story but I'm prepared to have it out there if it makes a difference. Hopefully, it will save a life."

Rangiora police officer Kim Munro.

A vehicle collission occurs on New Zealand's train lines every fortnight, while 500 near-misses are recorded every year.

"There's nothing more moving than hearing about someone who's been personally affected by one of these tragedies. We hope that is serves as a reminder to people to drive as safe as they can around level crossings," train safety organisation Tracksafe NZ' s Megan Drayton said.

Kiwirail chief executive Greg Miller said motorists have "got to pay a lot of attention" to level crossings, particularly in rural New Zealand, where nearly 80 per cent of the incidents occur. 

"As you come up on the level crossing, you've got to have an awareness for if a train is coming," he said.

Munro has since gathered all the newspaper clippings at the time of the crash as a brutal reminder of the potential dangers.

"I don't want anyone to go through what I went through," she said.