Thursday, December 13, 2001

Watch out for trains

Published in the Current

The Scarborough Police Department is warning people to look out for speeding trains in town, as the Amtrak service between Boston and Portland begins Saturday.

It means that some trains passing through Scarborough will not be going 30 mph, as freight trains do, but possibly up to 79 mph.

The only road-rail crossing in town will be on Winnocks Neck Road, but police Chief Robert Moulton said he is more concerned about people walking on the tracks elsewhere in town.

People often fish from the trestles or walk along the railroad bed, he said. Some parents encourage their children to walk along the tracks rather than use busy roads.

The increased train speed means people along the tracks will have less time to get out of the way of an oncoming train, but Moulton also warned of another danger: suction.

The train could be moving fast enough, Moulton said, that a 200-pound adult ten feet from the tracks could be sucked in and under the passing train.

Railroad staff working along the tracks in Scarborough Wednesday afternoon dismissed that concern, but said people walking along the tracks could be ordered to pay hefty fines for trespassing on federally patrolled property.

Moulton said one particular area he is especially worried about is along Highland Avenue, at Cook Concrete, where local teenagers have been known to party.

He urged all local residents to use caution when near the tracks, and keep an extra eye out for oncoming trains. “You’re talking about a very heavy piece of equipment,” he said.