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As Hurricane Fence Company wraps up the AMTRAK Middle River MD project, we're reflecting on what an important project this was for contractors, authorities & commuters alike. 

Above: Effectual video footage of the Amtrak High speed rail at Middle River, MD

A specific case highlighting numerous deaths in Middle River Maryland, which is northeast of Baltimore City, showed the urgent need for safety fencing near heavily populated areas with exposed rails. All of the Middle River Amtrak deaths were  tragic and included the death of Anna Marie Stickel. Anna was a 14 year old girl who was killed on the hi-speed tracks in January of 2010. This particular death and numerous related incidents initiated a dramatic public response that promted Amtrak to take swift action in the wake of a serious problem.

Not only was this project important to a distressed Middle River MD community, but also to Hurricane Fence Company as the exclusive fence contractor for the project.

An article published by The Amtrak Police Department titled; Amtrak installing new heavy steel fence along High-speed tracks in Middle River, Maryland informs the public that Amtrak is installing a heavy steel, 8-foot high, high security fence along a portion of its high-speed tracks in Middle River, Maryland to deter access to the railroad.

The Middle River community is located about 11 miles north of Baltimore and is within the busy Northeast Corridor home to frequent and daily Amtrak train service. The section of track where the fencing was installed includes Acela Express and Northeast Regional service that operates at speeds up to 125 mph carrying commuting passengers, and the occasional freight train. Amtrak went above and beyond it's government requirements and spent $3.1 million, rip out the chain-link fence entirely and replacing it with a barrier it believes will deter even the most determined would-be trespasser. The new 8-foot-high fence runs from Martin Boulevard to Stemmers Run Road, a section that includes the spot where Anna died. Amtrak spokeswoman Danelle Hunter said the railroad was investing in an Impasse Anti-Scale Fence System, so named because it is designed to be difficult to get over. Hunter said it will be sunk into the ground so intruders can't get under it and will be made of sturdier material than chain link so an intruder can't get through it with bolt cutters.

 â€œThe new fence will make it harder for a person to access the tracks, but to achieve maximum safety individuals must make the right decision to stay off the tracks and not use it as a shortcut,” says Amtrak Chief of Police John O’Connor.

In late April, Hurricane Fence Company began the installation of new Ameristar brand fencing on both sides of the tracks from Martin Boulevard southwest to where it meets up with an existing fence. (See Fence Contractors) A portion of the existing fence was also upgraded and replaced.  In all, more than 6,400-feet of fencing was installed and additional “No Trespassing” signs were posted.   

Todd Jones, Hurricane Fence Company Vice President had this to say,

I have come to understand that intruders on the track are a great concern to the train operators. Having the potential stress of hitting pedestrians or vehicles causes the conductors undue work related fatigue.

The $3.1 million fencing project ran from April-October 2013 (about 6 months from start to completion) There is now two miles continuous fencing from Martin Boulevard to Stemmers Run Road. Train passengers may use the pedestrian underpass at Martin Boulevard, which has also been upgraded for this construction.

“Our most important goal is safety, â€œI am pleased Amtrak is taking these significant steps, building taller and stronger fencing. I thank everyone who had a role in this project, working together to make Middle River a safer community for everyone." Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger remarked.


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