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Germantown group says Amtrak report shows they don't need fences along river

Oct 05, 2018 1:33 pm
The Daily Freeman reports that Germantown's Waterfront Advisory Committee says an Amtrak report the train service says shows the need to limit access to the Hudson River near the tracks used by the railroad, actually proves the opposite. The report, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, says that 19 incidents along the Amtrak tracks over an 8½-year period did not involve access from areas where barriers are proposed. “Two of the right-of-way incidents were fatalities, though neither clearly involved trespassing on the right-of-way,” the committee wrote in an accompanying press release. “One fatality was an Amtrak maintenance worker who was struck by a train, while the other victim was found dead near the tracks with injuries consistent with falling or jumping from a freight train.” Another five incidents were not in areas where Amtrak is proposing fences or gates. “During striped bass [fishing] season, there are often anglers along the tracks in vehicles, yet only one incident mentioned a vehicle, and it was in March, [which is] earlier than striped bass season,” the committee said. Amtrak officials did not comment for the story, but, in an application being reviewed by the state Department of State, says the gates and/or fences will prevent a “train [collision] with either a vehicle or human being.... This fencing initiative will be a beneficial activity as it will deter pedestrian and vehicular traffic from crossing ... where there is no advanced train warning systems and trains travel in excess of 90 mph," the railroad said. Residents, though, are upset about limiting access to the Hudson River. Under the proposal Amtrak would, in Germantown, add 125 feet of fencing to prevent vehicles from entering an access road at the boat launch; 700 feet of fencing along the tracks at the nearby town park; and 245 feet of fencing at Cheviot Road, with other barriers in Rhinecliff, Tivoli, Stuyvesant, and other towns along the Hudson River. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.