Public Transport Victoria forum hears call for more Maryborough train services
State Government Commits to Developing Rail Infrastructure for Victoria
Horsham residents to be quizzed about future use of dormant rail corridor land
No choppers here: Malcolm Turnbull takes the train to Geelong
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy backs Melbourne Airport rail link
Jail time for train threats to Vline Staff
Premier Daniel Andrews hears efforts to address Central Goldfields disadvantage, push for more Maryborough trains
The Inland Rail Link Melbourne to Brisbane a Similar Case as the RAA's Bendigo - Geelong Rail Link
North-West Rail Alliance urges more council support amid push for return of Mildura passenger rail
Grampians Rail Trail: Shire calls for community to step up and manage facility
Every eight days someone dies on Victoria's rail network, the highest rate of rail deaths in the country.
Retired train driver and guard Barry* says the constant carnage on the tracks can make going to work feel like a war zone.
Over his 35-year-long career, Barry had at least 70 "near misses" - moments when he nearly struck a person on the tracks.
And then there was the schoolboy.
[ul][left][li][center]SHARE[/center][/li][/left][left][li]SHARE ON FACEBOOK SHARE[/li][/left][left][li]SHARE ON TWITTER TWEET[/li][/left][left][li][center]LINK[/center][/li][/left][/ul][img]https://www.fairfaxstatic.com.au/content/dam/images/g/s/y/i/l/c/image.related.articleLeadwide.620x349.gzbwd5.png/1509494648428.jpg[/img]Melbourne has 168 level crossings. Photo: Eddie JimBarry remembers the boy's body under a tarpaulin. Spurred by the excitement of seeing his girlfriend across a level crossing in Melbourne's north, the boy had scampered across the tracks, blind to a fast-moving train headed towards him.
It happened more than 20 years ago, but Barry, who was called to the scene, can't shake the memory.
"You wake up at night and wonder what if, what if, what if," he said.
Barry retired recently after being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder from what he witnessed while driving.
"There are lots of drivers who go round saying they can cope with it, but they don't. It leads to marriage break ups and alcoholism."
Victoria has had the country's highest number of train related fatalities for at least four years.
In the past year, there were 41 deaths on Victoria's rail network, including 37 suicides, the National Rail Safety Regulator reports.
This compares with 33 deaths in NSW, nine in WA, five in South Australia and none in the other states and territories.
It is a complex area that will now be examined by public transport minister Jacinta Allan and mental health and transport infrastructure experts in a roundtable this December.
The session will be held in partnership with TrackSafe and Lifeline, and will outline a new strategy to "reduce the rate of suicide on Victoria's road and rail network", Ms Allan said.
Experts say more protective infrastructure, including basic fencing along the train lines, is needed in order to save lives.
Ninety per cent of Victoria's train corridors are unfenced, while Melbourne's 168 level crossings also pose a safety risk.
In NSW, most of the metropolitan train corridors are fenced off, and there are just 12 level crossings in the metropolitan area.
Researchers from Melbourne and Monash universities found that the majority of deaths on Victoria's rail network between 2001 and 2012 happened on open tracks.
Over the same period, there were five mental health institutions treating inpatients located within suicide cluster zones, the researchers found.
"There may still be opportunities for reducing access to these parts of the track at cluster areas using physical barriers such as fencing or removing level crossings," they said.
"This has the potential to buy time to allow suicidal individuals to reconsider their actions and enable others to intervene.
"Increasing surveillance such as installing video cameras along the track at cluster locations may also be useful."
Up to 20 kilometres of fencing has already gone up at known suicide "hot spots" around Melbourne as part of a $3.9 million program funded by the federal government.
The new infrastructure also includes signage and lighting, and is being rolled out across sections of the Pakenham, Cranbourne and Frankston lines.
Psychologist Jo Robinson from Orygen Health said restricting access to high-risk areas resulted in fewer suicides.
"It's a real myth, that people will go ahead and do it anyway," she said.
Stations in the $11 billion Melbourne Metro Tunnel will be fitted with sliding screen doors that will serve as a barrier between the platform and the tracks.
But Daniel Bowen, spokesman for the Public Transport Users Association, said it was unclear if the doors would be retro-fitted to existing platforms across the network.
"You wouldn't let people wander onto freeways; the same should apply to railways," he said.
*Name has been changed
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2020 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.