Metrolinx officials are breaking out all the stops to increase safety around the Port Credit rail bridge. As dozens of people continue to jump into the shallow waters, staff are working tirelessly to make things safer. Read on to get the latest on what’s being done.
Tragic accidents, suicides, and close calls – Metrolinx staff dread keeping tabs on these numbers.
But with about 400 kilometres of track to look after, they are still a reality despite relentless efforts to educate the public and raise awareness in communities about the dangers of walking on active train tracks.
Metrolinx News recently covered the partnership between Metrolinx and Peel Police in working together to prevent people from jumping off the Credit River rail bridge in Mississauga’s Port Credit community.
In response to this, Metrolinx is in the early stages of installing new high-security fencing along the property line around and under the bridge to limit future trespassing. Installation of the fence will begin in the coming weeks.
Tanya Caruso, an acting right-of-way officer for Metrolinx’s corridor maintenance team is overseeing the work.
“Essentially, we are removing all existing fencing, clearing the area and installing new upgraded fencing that will help prevent people from accessing the tracks and rail bridge,” Caruso explains.
Caruso says the fence will be made of special eight-foot-tall anti-climbing material that is also designed to be difficult to cut or damage.
She says contractors will start the work on the south-east side, near Port Credit Area. The work is expected to be done by the fall.
Sue Milos, Metrolinx’s Transit Safety operations assistant manager has been working hard to make the area safer and has been one of the people leading Metrolinx’s partnership with Peel Police.
“The improvement to the fence surrounding the bridge is great news for the local community and for us,” Milos explains.
Milos says the area is the top hot spot for trespassing across the entire GO Transit network. Over the May 2-4 long weekend alone, 160 people were removed or prevented from accessing the Port Credit rail bridge.
“Safety is central to everything we do at Metrolinx, and we have been working very hard to deter these dangerous activities.”
Installation of the new fence builds on numerous other measures Metrolinx is working on to help make the community safer.
The transit agency has put in anti-trespassing mats at the nearby Stavebank Road train crossing and is increasing the number of warning signs in the area, monitoring the corridor with a nearby camera, increasing patrols. As well, GO trains are slowed down at various times when going through the Port Credit area.
Metrolinx Community Relation teams have also made numerous trips to the nearby Port Credit Memorial Park to speak to the public, and especially parents who may not be aware of the risks jumping off the rail bridge poses to young people.
The transit agency has also reached out to schools in the area to help raise awareness about the issue.
“It is important for anybody who thinks about entering any rail corridor to remember that train traffic can be diverted onto any track, at any time, without notice and trains are surprisingly quiet when approaching at high speeds,” Milos warns.
While the focus is on educating people about the dangers and deterrence, Metrolinx Transit Safety official say officers will also not hesitate to charge people with trespassing. The maximum fine for this offense is $5,000.
During the installation of the new fence, Metrolinx contractors will ensure that temporary fencing as well as other safety measures are in place. Metrolinx officials ask that people are cautious around the construction area while enjoying the summer weather in the park.
Similar fences are planned around other popular trespassing access points throughout the network in the future.
GO Transit Safety asks that people report trespassers at the Credit River rail bridge or anywhere on GO train tracks, by calling the 24-hour GO Transit Safety Dispatch number at 1-877-297-0642.
In case of an urgent life-threatening emergency, you should always call 911 first.
Story by Robert Pasiak, Metrolinx communications senior advisor