Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Freight Train Demolishes Historic Dunedin Footbridge

Malfunctioning equipment is being blamed for causing a Tranz Rail freight train to crash into a historic pedestrian overbridge in Dunedin.

The top of a freight container smashed through the historic wooden and metal bridge above Dunedin's Railway Station, causing it to come crashing down onto the train tracks.

A 17 year old woman visiting from Australia was walking along one end of the bridge, and was shaken off in the impact.

She was able to grab hold of hand rails as she fell beside the neighbouring skate park, and was taken to hospital with minor injuries. Luckily noone was in the centre of the bridge when it collapsed.

The accident happened at around 5pm this evening in Dunedin, as the single engine and wagon were travelling into the city's central railway station.

Police say the container being carried by the wagon had been collapsed to fit under the footbridge, but the equipment somehow malfunctioned, causing part of the container to lift up.

The footbridge over Dunedin Railway Station to Thomas Burns street is used by hundreds of central city workers, who park their cars around the wharf area.

It was extensively rebuilt by the city council a few years ago, retaining the original historic look. It seems Tranz Rail may have to foot the bill this time for a replacement overbridge.

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