Preventing trespassing on the tracks
In 2016, there were 7 deaths and 1 case of serious injury due to trespassing on the tracks. Trespassers are people who walk on or alongside the tracks in order to take a shortcut, for example. The number of casualties is higher than in 2015, but every victim is still one too many.
Trespassing on the tracks
The key figures on trespassing show that 45% of trespassers are commuters. Often they are trying to take a shortcut. However, in doing so they often fail to consider the speed and stopping distance of trains. The rail network is also private property and a highly dangerous area.
Consequences of trespassing on the tracks
As well as this human tragedy, trespassers on the tracks also cause a great deal of disruption, amounting to over 5 hours a day on average. This is a 6% increase on the number of minutes' delay in 2015 (i.e. an increase of 84% compared to the average delay over the last three years).
It is not surprising that trespassing on the tracks causes major delays to rail traffic. Naturally, safety procedures require that whenever a train driver spots someone on the tracks, rail traffic must immediately come to a standstill. The resulting delays can soon mount up. Avoid subjecting train passengers to delays and always use a nearby tunnel, bridge or secure level crossing to cross the railway track safely.
Train driver trauma
It's not just the trespasser and train passengers who can suffer serious consequences as a result of dangerous behaviour around the tracks; the train driver can also suffer. He will have the fright of their life if they suddenly see somebody appear on the tracks and have to slam the brakes on. Pedestrian-train collisions are deeply traumatic to train drivers.
Infrabel's actions against trespassing
Even though illegal track trespassing has a major effect on punctuality, Infrabel's number one priority remains safety. That's why Infrabel is working flat out to secure the areas most prone to trespassing and is taking technical and infrastructure measures to prevent people trespassing on railway lines:
- Installation of anti-trespass panels: The unevenness of these mats makes it almost impossible for trespassers to cross the track.
- Barriers: Barriers have been installed around the areas prone to trespassing. There are two types: a natural enclosure such as a dense thicket or an artificial enclosure such as a fence.
- Signs prohibiting entry: New signs have been installed at the platform edge.
- We need to raise people's awareness of the dangers and other consequences of trespassing on the tracks. That's why Infrabel runs regular awareness-raising campaigns. We also undertake regular large-scale security actions in partnership with SNCB (Securail) and the railway police in order to catch out trespassers and impose fines.
Waiting safely on the platform
Keep a safe distance
Trains are very fast and heavy, which means they generate an enormous amount of turbulence as they pass through. This is so powerful that you could easily be pulled under the train if you stand too close to the edge of the platform. To remind passengers that they must keep a safe distance, Infrabel is introducing platform markings, such as yellow safety lines or textured surfaces.
Trains sometimes pass through stations at high speed without stopping. Trains passing through without stopping are announced, so that you can move to a safe distance in good time.
Have you dropped something on the tracks?
Leave it where it is and ask for assistance from station staff.
It is extremely dangerous to just walk over the tracks. You should always use a safe route to reach another platform. That might be a footbridge, an underground passage or a secure level crossing. Your life is well worth a short detour, isn't it?