Launching pads – Scientific and awkward-to-walk-on solution to people wandering onto train tracks expand across Lakeshore rail corridors

They look wonky, and are hard to step on. But safety panels put down to deter dangerous shortcuts across train lines have gotten positive results. Here’s how they’re shaping up across two major lines.

For safety’s sake, watch where you step.

Following a recent successful pilot program, Metrolinx will move forward with the installation of anti-trespass panels (ATPs) at high-risk, track-level crossing locations on the Lakeshore East and West corridors.

As we’ve previously reported, the mats are placed in places where pedestrians regularly try to wrongly dash across rail lines. But the rubber carpets create a less than stable route.

A photo of the rubber safety panels laying next to the tracks

Metrolinx will be installing these safety panels at 18 crossings across the Lakeshore corridors

Robert Netopilik, Manager of Track Infrastructure for Metrolinx, said panels were installed at Stavebank Road crossing in Mississauga, and two other locations as a trial.

“Almost immediately we noticed a distinct drop in the number of pedestrians in the railway corridor,” said Netopilik.

Not that the mats haven’t taken on a new shape following the tests.

The hard rubber panels that were installed originally feature a pointed cone-shaped pattern. After the pilot and some industry consultation, Metrolinx decided to install a variation of the original mat with round cones – rather than pyramids – making it even more difficult to get onto the tracks.

Trains travel constantly on rail lines, and their size and speed can be a threat to life and limb of those looking for a short-cut across.

After a contractor is brought on board in March, installation at 18 crossings across the Lakeshore corridors will follow.

Photo of the rubber safety anti-trespass mats.

These mats are placed in places where pedestrians regularly try to wrongly dash across rail lines.

“The Track Infrastructure team has been working diligently on this project and are excited for this new initiative,” said Elisabeth Santo, Right-of-Way Officer for Metrolinx, “Any progress we can make as an organization to help decrease the trespassing and potential accidents that occur within the rail and to also show, educate and support local communities in regards to rail safety is what drives the success of this program initiative,” she said.

The goal of the ATPs is to minimize delays, increase the safety for the public, and to better secure Metrolinx’s owned corridors.

And while Metrolinx usually is building better routes for customers and communities, in this case, they’re building paths that are the last place you’d want to travel.

Story by Stacey Kenny, Metrolinx Communications senior advisor.