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<- Homepage: TranzAlpine: A STEM-learning journey with a view field trip


Recorded web conferences

The following questions from schools were answered by Ian from KiwiRail, a locomotive engineer (train driver) for over 40 years:

  1. How did you learn to be a train driver?
  2. What is the best thing about your job?
  3. Who keeps the track safe?
  4. Who checks the train is safe?
  5. Does the snow affect the train?
  6. Could you explain the difference between a viaduct and a bridge?
  7. How many deaths were there while the Otira tunnel was under construction? The cause of most deaths?
  8. What is the steepest gradient within the Otira tunnel and the highest point?
  9. Using today's technology, how much quicker do you think the Otira tunnel might have been completed in?
  10. Have any earthquakes damaged the internal structure of the Otira tunnel?

CORE Education · LEARNZ rail and STEM learning podcast 1 of 2

The following questions from schools were answered by Ian from KiwiRail, a locomotive engineer (train driver) for over 40 years:

  1. How do you build and test a New Zealand diesel train and what materials are involved?
  2. How do you get trains onto a track after they are built and how do you get them off if they need a repair?
  3. What is the speed of a train at a crossing and is there any way to tell it is coming other than the lights or barrier arms?
  4. What is the weight of an average train and how strong does a bridge need to be to handle a train?
  5. How does wild weather like earthquakes, lightning, and floods affect trains and tracks?
  6. How does a train balance on a train track and how do they stay and move along on them?
  7. Is there a gear system and how does it and the brakes work?

CORE Education · LEARNZ rail and STEM learning podcast 1 of 2

Meet your TranzAlpine rail experts


Ian is a locomotive engineer for KiwiRail. He drives trains, and has done for over 40 years! 

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Stuart is a structures inspector for KiwiRail. He is part of a team that makes sure the tunnels, bridges, and viaducts trains travel through and over are maintained to a safe standard.

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Bruce is a track inspector for KiwiRail. This is a critical role that helps to ensure trains and those on board are kept safe while traveling around the rail network.