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Posted by portugalpress on October 30, 2014
Rail bosses despair over Olhão’s ‘Berlin Wall’ antics

It is the stuff of comedy movies: Railway bosses put up a fence, locals tear it down; bosses put it back up again, locals tear it down, again...

But the truth is Refer rail authority has pronounced itself "extremely worried" over locals’ persistence in tearing down the fencing around Olhão’s pedestrian crossing on Avenida Bernardino da Silva.

Last weekend, the barrier cutting the town in two, and thus dubbed disparagingly by locals as Olhão's “Berlin Wall”, was torn down by persons unknown for the second time in two weeks. On cue, Refer has been back to re-erect it.

“This is a very serious situation,” Refer spokesperson Susana Abrantes told the Resident. “It puts many people's lives at risk.

"People still don’t seem to realise the danger they are putting themselves in by crossing the railway,” she added.

As Abrantes stressed last time we spoke with her, “trains are travelling at 90kms an hour in areas where they used to travel at 30kms.

“And some – like cargo trains – don’t even stop in Olhão, meaning that they will be travelling at 90kms an hour.

"Just imagine someone crossing the railway with a train oncoming at 90kms an hour...,” she said.

But Olhão folk are renowned for laughing in the face of danger - and they point out that a viable alternative has not been supplied.

The underpass offered by Refer is “steep, inaccessible and susceptible to flooding” say all - and the council agrees.

As the late-night shenanigans continue to thwart Refer's public-spirited blockade, the rail authority is due to meet with council chiefs to try and find a way out of the problem.

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