Melbourne train track trespassing spikes to eight each day

Trespassers on Melbourne train tracks have spiked with the cause in part put down to mental health issues.

The number of times someone had gone onto the Metro Trains tracks in the past 12 months had spiked 40 per cent, Metro Trains executive Paul O’Halloran told 3AW this week.

Every day about eight people were reported as being on the tracks, or about 3000 a year, Mr O’Halloran said.

“It’s hard to put a finger on, from a societal lens, what has caused it,” he said.

A factor in the surge was people coming “back in droves to the network” after Covid-19 lockdowns, Mr O’Halloran said.

Increased mental health issues were also a factor in increasing trespassing incidents, he believed.

“The same people are trespassing, repeat offenders … there are a number of people who are trespassing causing major delays time and time again,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“The actual impact of particular individuals is really quite harmful and impactful to our travelling public.

“It changes from month to month, new recidivists seem to come onto the network and others drop out, but it’s about 10 people at any given time who are causing us continued day-to-day interruptions to the network,” Mr O’Halloran said.

Trespassing between Richmond and North Melbourne inconvenienced the most people, he said.

Security patrol the hotspots and guards knew the recidivists and contacted police when they spotted one, he said.

People who took a shortcut or mistimed a level crossing were being abated by 16km of fencing in hotspots, he said.

“Frankston line, Sandringham, Pakenham, Cranbourne, Mernda, they’re the target areas at the moment.

“We put a lot of signs up for people for Lifeline with the messaging of ‘Pause, call, be heard’ at those hotspots.”

The Victorian Mental Health Minister has been approached for comment.

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