Illegal trespass could claim lives
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has urged Wagga Wagga residents to stop dicing with death by trespassing across the rail line south of Fernleigh Road.
ARTC Executive General Manager – Interstate, Peter Winder, said that it was crazy people continued to cut through the existing fence line and cross the rail corridor between Grinton Avenue and Mima Street; placing their own lives at risk for the sake of a shortcut.
There is an actively protected pedestrian crossing with maze-way at Fernleigh Road level crossing, 200 metres up the rail corridor.
Mr Winder said the tenth annual Rail Safety Week between 10 and 16 August served as an important reminder of the potential tragedy that lies in each and every ‘near hit’ or trespass event.
“The laws of probability mean we are due a completely preventable incident at this location – and it is sadly a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’, given the frequency of trespass taking place,” Mr Winder said.
ARTC Wagga Wagga staff estimate vandalism of the fence to create a short cut is occurring at least once a week, and believe trespass occurs at a much higher frequency rate.
Even signs erected to warn of the damages and penalties in place for trespass at this location have been removed multiple times.
“The industry is committed to highlighting the dangers presented by level crossings and helping improve education and decision making around the rail corridor,” Mr Winder said.
“But in this location the only resolution is behaviour change by the local community. In some instances, following the fence being repaired, it is cut again in under an hour.
“For us it’s more than just the nuisance and cost factor of repeatedly repairing fences, something that takes both money and time away from more important tasks that ensure the safety of the track itself.
“Rather, it is about the children, friends and family of those devastated by losing a loved one in an avoidable incident with a train, and importantly, the subsequent impact it has on train crew, first responders, and other scene attendants.
“Train drivers and rail employees who experience an incident are the forgotten victims -despite the fact they are often the last to see that person alive, and for them, severe trauma can result from witnessing such an event,” Mr Winder said.
“The last thing we want is for an entirely preventable tragedy to occur in Wagga Wagga, particularly when there is an actively protected pedestrian crossing just up the road.”
Media contact: Bas Bolyn, ARTC, 0477 340 658