Brunswick to test railroad trespassing-prevention system

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BRUNSWICK — The town will be a testing ground for new technology designed to keep trespassers away from railroad tracks.

The detection and deterrent technology will be developed at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center in Cambridge, Mass., over the next few months, Federal Railroad Authority spokesman Rob Kulat said Monday.

It will be deployed in Brunswick sometime after that, he added, and could provide the basis for wider use across the country.

Kulat said the FRA and Volpe Center will conduct a three-year research project on the technology’s feasibility and effectiveness.

The technology will include wireless video cameras, detection sensors and devices that issues verbal warnings to trespassers. The technology will also alert police whenever someone is trespassing the private property along rail line owned by Pan Am Railway that carries the Amtrak Downeaster.

The research project was made possible by a $200,000 grant as part of an inter-agency agreement between the FRA and Volpe Center, Kulat said, and it will serve as a follow-up to a 2001-2004 study in Pittsford, N.Y., that tested similar technology.

The town will be able to retain the technology when the research project is completed, Kulat said.

Kulat said trespassing is the number one cause of death in the rail industry, and it’s preventable if people know that doing so is dangerous and prohibited by federal law.

There have been three railroad-related casualties in Maine within the last three years, accoding to FRA records.

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.