8.5 Anti-trespass panels

This measure consists of the installation of several anti trespass panels (ATP) on the ground on which walking is almost impossible because of the panel’s surface profile. The aim is to create a ground-level physical barrier which restricts pedestrian or animal access at unauthorised places or at least makes it more difficult. They are also named "anti trespass grids" or “cattle grids”. The panels can have different surface profiles and can be made of different materials such as timber, GRP  , or recycled rubber (i.e. rubber mats), depending on the manufacturer. The surface can have the following shapes: a repetitive skewed profile (copy of oblique wooden cattle guards historically used on the railway), pyramids of equal sizes (the pyramids which form the panel's surface have equal heights) or pyramids of unequal sizes (the pyramids which form the panel's surface have slightly uneven sizes and heights).
  • Intallation tips:
    • There is a need for at least about 3 meters full band of the material so that it would not be easy to jump over.
  • Combine with fences:
    • The space beside the grid should be guarded by fences for a quite long distance. In some cases 500 meters of fencing were reported. The fence should be laid in such a way to obstruct the flows of trespassers from crossing over the joint between the fence and the rubber panels.
    • Create with the fences a virtual tunnel close to the track for a suitably long distance. Some IMs   reported distances of at least 7 to 9 meters.
    • Make sure that in the fences there are escape routes for train passengers in case of emergency (and emergency response access) and entry gates for railway workers and their materials.
  • Combine with CCTV  :
    • The perception of the surveillance camera is likely to enforce the effect of the anti-trespass barrier.
    • The recorded images facilitate the assessment of effectiveness allowing to count the number of trespassers and to study what how pedestrians adjust their behaviour.
  • Make them easily visible:
    • Communicate when installing to avoid pedestrians injuring themselves (e.g. by trying to walk on the panels). Combine with warning or prohibitive signs installed in visible places. These should also be visible during night-time.
    • Coloured or reflective paint can be used to increase panels’ visibility on the ground: GRP   panels can be manufactured in any colour according to requirements and rubber panels can be painted.
  • Anti-trespass panels do not completely eliminate the possibility of direct contact between persons and moving trains as would a solid fence. Young trespassers with good moving skills could still walk on the panels and access the tracks illegally. However, these pyramid-shaped panels are very likely to soil the shoes of the pedestrian who walks on them, and this may dissuade young trespassers from crossing on this system.
  • Buried electrical cables, switch boxes and balises may raise installation difficulties
  • More difficult interventions on the infrastructure
  • More difficult access/interventions of railway staff, safety services or security agents
  • May raise cleaning difficulties especially during winter time when the panels may get covered in snow or ice. Similarly, there have been concerns regarding resistance to sand accumulation.
  • With some systems (e.g. timber) vegetation can grow freely. Other systems will gather dirt and fallen debris and are likely to grow organic material on the top of the panels inthe long term. This requires regular inspection and maintenance. If obstacle detectors are installed near the panels, grown vegetation can trigger false alarms.
  • More difficult passenger evacuation on level crossings or from tunnels
  • More difficult removal of animals from the tracks
  • Possible problems if the train has to stop outside the platform area
  • They are usually installed in locations very close to the tracks where fencing is impossible (e.g. at platform ends or at the station’s extremities, next to a LC). They are also suitable for sensitive hotspots in the vicinity of stations (e.g. to deter access for metal thefts). Be cautios about the installation at platforms as an alternative to the platfor end fence, because passengers may fall.
  • They can be implemented on narrow rail corridors instead of intermediate fencing between tracks. However, this implementation may raise passenger evacuation problems in case of emergency. INFRABEL   is testing this type of implementation in a field trial scheduled for 2015.
  • There can be important differences between characteristics of the anti-trespass systems available on the market. These characteristics can affect the ease of the installation and maintenance process, therefore the end-users are encouraged to check these with the manufactures:
    • Size and weight of panels: depending on the manufacturer and the material used, the length of one panel can vary between 0.9m-1.3m and the weight can range between 25kg-95kg. Some systems require lifting equipment for installing or handling the panels.
    • Installation mode: panels support cutting to fit required spaces on the ground, but the way the panels are installed on the tracks varies from one system to another: the width of one panel corresponds to approximately the width between the tracks. You may want to check if the panels cover (or not) the rail fastenings, since this can have an impact on track maintenance (e.g. the need for removing the panels during maintenance work).
    • Endurance level: some materials will last more than others, thus the lifetime of the installed system may range between approximately 5 and 25 years.
    • Fireproof level: some materials are more resistant to fire than others, with some systems offering fully fire retardant panels. Fire retardant panels can also be used in underground stations, in tunnels and other applications requiring fire retardancy.
  • Preparatory groundwork is needed before installation mainly in case of inclined slopes, cable drums or if the substrate is uneven. Each site is unique and may need be prepared based on its conditions.
  • The anti-trespass panels material is easy to assemble and dismantle but the cost of maintenance can increase when the material needs to be moved.
  • This system was initially implemented and has been mainly used in the UK (by Network Rail).
  • The system was also implemented in Portugal (by REFER), in Lithuania, and Japan but evaluation results are unknown.
  • A pilot study conducted in 2014 in Belgium by INFRABEL   evaluated the effect of this measure at a trespassing hotspot close to three schools and a level crossing. Anti-trespass panels were installed in combination with fences, warning signs and a surveillance camera. The number of trespassers during the three months after the implementation decreased with 78% compared to the three months before installation. Contact person: Gaëtan Van Overmeiren.
  • In the Netherlands the system was implemented by ProRail and preliminary reports indicated trespass reductions between 30-90% depending on the configuration and problems.
  • Anti-trespass panels were tested by TCDD   at Aydin station in combination with other measures as part of RESTRAIL   pilot tests conducted in 2014.
  • Anti-trespass panels were tested in Sweden at 6 locations in the period 2016-2017. Test results showed an overall 38% reduction in numbers of trespassers: -51% in one location, -29% in another, +4% increase in a third, and less clear but rather positive effect for the rest of the locations (full report from Trafikverket).
  • An exploratory study by SNCF   is also ongoing at several locations in France (results unknown yet).

last update: 2019-07-17 Print