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Pictured: Little girl, 11, tragically hit and killed by train

A heartbroken family are struggling to come to terms with the death of an 11-year-old girl who was struck by a freight train as she tried to run off a treacherous stretch of rail-bridge in New Zealand.

Moareen Rameka was with a group of friends playing on the bridge at Ngāruawāhia in the Waikato township on Sunday evening when they heard a train coming from the south.

Police revealed that the group made a run for safety in the other direction but said Moareen didn't make it.

"They were seen running north, trying to get off the tracks and the young girl hasn't made it in time and was struck by the train,” Western Waikato police area prevention manager Senior Sergeant Dave Hall told Fairfax.

Moareen Rameka was struck and killed by a freight train on Sunday evening. Source: Givealittle.com
Moareen Rameka was struck and killed by a freight train on Sunday evening. Source: Givealittle.com

Her older sister, Joanna Lines, led a series of tributes to Moareen, saying her family are all in shock over her sudden death.

"On the 18th March 2018 6:00pm Moareen Rameka aged 11 was struck by a train in Ngāruawāhia taken from her beloved family, mother father grandmother her 11 siblings cousins and much more," Ms Lines wrote on a fundraising page for her sister.

"The family is in devastation as her death was such a shock to us all.

"I've created this page on behalf of my family and baby sister to help them with anything in need. Anything will be a blessing towards this tragedy."

The stretch of railway track has long been an issue for the Waikato township, with youths repeatedly pulling down fences to jump into the water. Source: Google Street View
The stretch of railway track has long been an issue for the Waikato township, with youths repeatedly pulling down fences to jump into the water. Source: Google Street View

"I love you so much Moareen Rameka words can't describe how lost I am to here this tonight. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have expected him to need a beautiful soul like you so early in your life," another tribute read.

This stretch of railway line has long been a concern to Kiwirail, with many documented near-misses and police routinely called to clear people from the rail bridge who attempt to dodge trains and jump into the water below.

"There's fences, notices and education advising people to stay off the tracks because of this scenario, where you have to talk about someone losing their life,” Sgt Hall added.

"The family are now having to deal with the loss of life because children chose to play in an area where they shouldn't be."

In 2002, Jayden Nerihana Tepu, 9, died on the same bridge when he lost his footing on the bridge and was struck by a train.