Train Company Finally Succumbs to Pressure and Erects Safety Fencing Near Park

Solid Wood Safety Fence

Kim Herbert has finally achieved her five-year goal of pressuring Network Rail into erecting a barrier to keep people and pets away from their train as it passes near Harlow Town Park in Essex, England.

In 2009, Herbert, who is deaf, was walking with her hearing dog, Cassie, out in Maylands Marsh. Her dog ran onto the rail lines and was killed by an oncoming train. Herbert then launched an online petition and campaign aimed at pressuring Network Rail into fencing off the track area that runs between the Templefields industrial estate, and Harlow Town Station.

Herbert argued that, by having rail lines so close to a public and frequently used park, the train company was taking an unnecessary risk by not erecting a physical barrier to prevent access to domestic dogs and children. At first, Network Rail declined Herbert’s suggestions to enact a barrier.

“They said vegetation was sufficient,” said Herbert in an interview with the Harlow Star. “They kept saying it was fenced with a post and wire which was very much invisible and did nothing to prevent people from accessing the track either.” Obviously, vegetation was not sufficient for preventing the death of Herbert’s own dog.

Last year, though, things started moving forward. In spite of Network Rail’s lackadaisical attitude, the Harlow Council decided to install safety fencing along one of the more dangerous section. Then, earlier this year, Network Rail finally decided to install palisade safety fencing behind the streams, and on both sides of the track.

“There is a kind of peace there once more,” says Herbert. “I just wish it didn’t take the death of my beloved dog to make this happen.” As for Network Rail, they deny that their decision had anything to do with Herbert’s continual requests. “The reason we installed the fencing was because we inspected the area and found a change of land use and signs of trespass,” a company spokeswoman explained.

Companies have a responsibility for ensuring an acceptable level of safety, especially if they’re running something like a high-speed train. The same principle applies to homeowners and their residential fencing options. When homeowners install a pool, for example, they need to follow local ordinances, and not all types of fences are acceptable as swimming pool fences. Most areas require that fences have automatic locking gates, and rise to a certain height. Some residential fencing options have easily-to-climb designs, and these are often banned since they present a risk to children.

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