Model railway “a potential danger”
WorkSafe New Zealand has closed the Kapiti model railway until passenger safety improvements are made.
“In the interests of public safety, we cannot allow this model railway to continue operating,” Chief Inspector Investigations Alan Cooper says.
“An accident occurred in late September in which a family was tipped from the train as it rounded a curve. Although no-one was severely injured, we launched an investigation into operations at the site at Raumati Beach once we found out about it.
“We’ve now got an engineer’s report and its conclusions and recommendations are such that in the interests of public safety, we cannot allow continuing operations until safety improvements are made,” Mr Cooper says.
“There was an accident involving this operation in 2008 and we had to close it down then too”.
“Since then, the operators have failed to properly maintain registration of the railway under the Amusement Devices Regulations which they are required to do when carrying passengers,” he says. “WorkSafe NZ can no longer allow that risk to go unaddressed.”
The engineer’s report concludes that there is a combination of factors that raise significant safety concerns: the very narrow gauge (only 184 mm); the fundamental instability of the straddle carriages; and the design of the carriages which make them susceptible to tipping due to speed of operation or wind gusts.
‘WorkSafe NZ expects that the concerns and recommendations set out in the engineering report will be addressed. Until then the prohibition notice will remain in place.
“WorkSafe NZ recognises this is a community attraction and closing it down at holiday time was not a decision we took lightly, but I could not look a parent in the eye if another incident occurred and a child was injured,” Mr Cooper said.