The signs were there but no-one took any notice however, a $75,000 fence will be very hard to ignore.
KiwiRail contractors have built a 1.8m high chain link fence along both sides of the railway line near the car park on the corner of Tamworth Lane and Mersey St, in Gore.
Previously, people who left their cars in the car park often walked across the train track to the shops and businesses on the other side.
KiwiRail South Island operations general manager Mark Heissenbuttel said KiwiRail staff reported people often crossed the railway line wherever it suited them rather than at the Mersey St rail crossing.
“There is also evidence of a worn pathway indicating people are regularly crossing,” Mr Heissenbuttel said.
The rail corridor was for trains only.
“Safety is KiwiRail’s paramount concern.
“It is dangerous and against the law to enter it without the appropriate permissions or to cross it at anywhere other than at a level crossing.
“Freight trains cannot swerve like cars, or stop quickly .. can come from either direction, day or night and can weigh over 1500 tonnes.”
Trespassing is an offence under the Railways Act 2005 and could be punished with a $10,000 fine.
“Trespassing is a concerning issue across our national rail network.
“When we are made aware of regular trespassing incident locations, we will endeavour to restrict access through installing fencing and improving rail safety awareness.”
Signs warning people not to trespass at the location were installed by KiwiRail about 18 months ago.
Mr Heissenbuttel did not answer The Ensign‘s question about how many people had been injured or killed crossing the stretch of railway line by the car park.
He did say the Gore District Council also requested KiwiRail take action to improve safety at this location, after it had received complaints.
Council roading asset manager Peter Standring said the council received comments from the public concerned about people crossing the railway lines in the wrong place.
“We share KiwiRail’s concerns that people have ignored the signs the company put up about 18 months ago,” Mr Standring said.
“We talked to KiwiRail about the issue and suggested putting in a crossing point between the car park and Brennan Lane.”
Shopper Tracey Miller said from a safety point of view the fence was a good idea.
“But was it essential?”
Aon Insurance Brokers’ office is one of the businesses in the group of shops opposite the car park.
Branch manager Brian Pitcher said he was not concerned about the fence going up.
“I can understand it going up for health and safety reasons,” Mr Pitcher said.
“If someone walks on there and trips over and breaks an ankle what’s going to happen [KiwiRail] ’cause there’s rough stones there.
“They shouldn’t have been walking across there in the first place.”
A business owner who did not want to be named said they were concerned someone might be tempted to “run the gauntlet” and run from one end of the fenced track to the other.