In New Zealand, one-lane bridges are a common enough thing
that tourists are warned about them.
The rules are simple.
Approach with care, go slowly,
and if there's someone coming the other way
then sometimes there are signs that'll tell you who has priority.
There is an exception to that rule in just a couple of places, though,
which is that, regardless of what those signs say...
always let the train go first.
- Dunedin Railways started operating in the 1990s
and we run a tourist train business.
We cart about 80-90,000 passengers a year.
The route is 154km return from Dunedin
and follows a river gorge up through the Taieri River
up onto the Strath Taieri plain.
The scenery is spectacular, how they built it.
They started in 1879, it was completed in 1891, all by hand.
It is a challenging route.
It's really up and down.
- Just to be clear, this isn't a tram, or a trolley bus, or light rail,
this is an actual train running on the street here,
because that was a better option
than trying to build a second bridge on a very quiet road.
Technically, I guess this is just a very strangely shaped level crossing?
And there are a few other bridges like this around the world,
but almost all of them have lights and sirens and barriers
to keep cars separated when there's a rain approaching.
Here, you just take care and listen out for the train horn.
- When the road bridge further up the river failed,
they made the rail bridge a road bridge.
There used to be a lot more in the country.
It was a cheap option,
why build two bridges when you can build one?
They were mainly built in less populated areas
because trains and cars don't usually combine very well(!)
so you wouldn't build them in the cities.
But the cars just have to follow the road rules.
There's stop signs at either end of the bridge
and you don't do line speed going up onto a road-rail bridge,
you're doing 10kph, blowing the whistle and all that sort of thing.
Hindon Road-Rail Bridge is really there only
to give access to two sheep stations,
so there's not that much traffic on it. Rarely you come across a car anyway.
The train is going at a speed that it can stop pretty easily,
and usually the cars have to back up.
We've never had a problem on a road-rail bridge.
Level crossings are worse.