After actor Jüri Aarma was fatally struck by a train at the Veerenni railroad crossing in 2019, Eesti Raudtee promised to equip the crossing with a modern and innovative safety system. Construction was finished just last weekend and warning lights and signals will be put into action this week.
After an unfortunate accident in 2019 brought much attention to the Veerenni crossing in Tallinn, developments to make the crossing safer for pedestrians and cyclists were called for immediately. Now, the upgrades have been installed and the new system should minimize the risk of train accidents.
"There is sound signalization, a traffic light and LED-lighting has been placed on the ground. Of course, it is more effective during the dark," said Maia Sokk, head of Eesti Raudtee's investment department.
Sokk said people should not think the train is far and they can sneak over the railroad as bells and whistles are ringing. In actuality, the proximity of the train has been calculated down to the wheel pairs. "The railway is actually filled with technology, components notify one another," she added.
A two-level crossing would be the safest option, but it is an expensive one. Sokk said a tunnel is also an option, but one can only be built where the railway embankment is high enough, such as in Jõhvi, where construction is underway.
"We should now look at two things: one is a railway tunnel the other is that roads-streets are renovated in a way that would allow people safe entry to these tunnels," said Rain Kaarjas, board member of Edelaraudtee.
The latter has often been an obstacle. The current crossing at the Liiva station in Tallinn will be replaced by a tunnel, largely in part to people wanting to stay in shape.
"The Tallinn municipal department and foundation Eesti Terviserajad had planned on crossing the railway with a health trail at the Liiva station territory and a tunnel was the best solution for it," said Kaarjas.
In the near future, Eesti Raudtee is planning to add double barriers to crossings on highway sections where train speeds exceed 140 km/h. The time of waiting behind a lowered barrier might end soon.
"Considering increases in train speeds, we have to change our software to take the train's speed into consideration in order to ensure a reasonable crossing solution," said Maia Sokk.
This year, the traffic light and signalization system will also be installed at the Kitseküla crossing in Tallinn, followed by crossings at Aegviidu, Raasiku and Kehra.
The safety system can be seen in the "Aktuaalne kaamera" clip attached to the article (around the 1.00 mark).
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste