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New rail security fencing set to save lives

New fencing is expected to not only improve safety but also help save lives. WORK has begun on installing additional security fencing on the Sydney Trains network to prevent trespassing and reduce self-harm incidents in the rail corridor.

Transport minister Andrew Constance said the $4.5 million of new fencing was being installed across 2.3 kilometres of the rail corridor by the end of 2021.

“This new fencing will not only improve safety and stop people accessing the rail network illegally, it will also help save lives,” Constance said.

“Tragically, 16 people lost their lives on the NSW rail network last year. There were also 155 near misses and 54 people injured from trespassing or entering the Sydney Trains rail corridor.”

Mental health minister Bronnie Taylor said any suicide was a tragedy with profound community impacts.

“We know that when we erect physical barriers in identified suicide ‘hot spots’, it significantly reduces the immediate risk to that individual’s life,” Taylor said.

“I encourage anyone who is having suicidal thoughts to seek help, or talk to a trusted friend about their feelings immediately.”

Sydney Trains acting chief executive Pete Church said while most of the Sydney Trains network was already fenced, there were locations where people had been able to access the rail corridor.

“When people trespass in the rail corridor, they not only risk their life, but their actions can have a long lasting impact for their friends and family, as well as our customers and staff,” Church said.

TrackSAFE executive director Heather Neil said they worked closely with Sydney Trains to raise awareness of rail safety issues, and reduce near misses.

“Reducing accessibility to train lines through the installation of fences and other physical barriers is known to be a successful method of reducing trespass and self-harm incidents,” Neil said.

There were more than 2,600 trespassing incidents on the network, including nine people caught train surfing, in the 2019-20 financial year. The minimum fine for trespassing is $400 but can be as high as $5,500.

Other Sydney Trains initiatives to prevent trespassing and self-harm incidents include:

  • Training for frontline staff to help them recognise the warning signs for suicide.
  • Emergency help points on every platform, which are directly linked to trained security operators 24 hours a day.
  • More than 12,000 CCTV cameras monitoring the network, including high-definition cameras with stronger capabilities to identify trespassers.

If this article has raised issues for you, please consider calling one of the following entities:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
  • NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511