Citing safety concerns, Kirkwood to extend fence near train platform

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KIRKWOOD, MO (KPLR) - The city of Kirkwood is doing something new to keep pedestrians safe from passing trains.

In the coming weeks, crews will extend a rod-iron fence about 30 feet to prevent people from getting into the path of trains.

The Kirkwood Train Station’s Station Manager Bill Burckhalter said it is not unusual to see pedestrians ignore signs and loudspeaker instructions warning against crossing the yellow line on the asphalt.

“It is not a cut-through,” Burckhalter said.

Burckhalter said the main offenders are not train passengers.

“It’s people who want to take a shortcut over to the plaza. Over to the concerts, over to city hall that come from this area, this parking lot. They walk through,” he said.

With up to 50 freight and passenger trains passing through Kirkwood’s busy downtown, the chances for close-calls are high, Burckhalter said. Often times, he said, residents or people passing by are struck by the scenery and ignore the potential dangers.

“You could have a train come through here at speed, and somebody get caught out there and slip,” Burckhalter said. “If it’s raining, people could fall down out there. Fall down between the tracks. They could fall on the other side of this platform and between the tracks and we’d never see them.”

The city is in the process of accepting bids for the fence. Much of the money comes from grants, Burckhalter said.

Burckhalter hopes the improved safety features will result in more pedestrians using the nearby crosswalk.