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Tri-Rail to start suicide prevention hotline after an increase in train-related deaths

Posted at 5:23 PM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 20:47:58-05

For 17 years Bonnie Arnold has worked for Tri-Rail. This year has proved to be the most difficult.

The number of fatal accidents involving Tri-Rail trains doubled in 2017. Some have been accidental. "People with earphones listening to music. Walking down the tracks," Arnold said.

Arnold said a majority of the deaths have been ruled a suicide.

"One of my crew members that I've known for many, many years said that every day he sees the person that stood in front of him and let the train hit him," she recalled.

Arnold said every time there's a death she gets a call and she's sick of the calls.

"People just need to be aware that if you are near the tracks in that right of way you are trespassing," Arnold said.

The suicide hotline and new informational signs will be available after the new year. But Arnold says they will also be working to prevent accidental deaths by keeping people off the tracks.

"It is illegal you can be arrested you can be fined," she said.

Tri-Rail is looking into new fences for some high traffic areas like Mangonia Park, which sees more than 100 trains a day.  The commuter line is also considering patrolling railroad corridors using drones.

Arnold says Brightline will also participate in the anti-suicide program when that service launches from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale and Miami in a matter of weeks.