Berlin Wall agreement in sight as Olhão’s “pirate crossings” cause untold headaches

Berlin Wall agreement in sight as “pirate crossings” continue

Rail authority REFER will be ruing the day it set itself up against the people of Olhão. But despite the guerrilla-type tactics that have thwarted Refer’s arbitrary decision to close-off a vital crossing dissecting the town, a truce (of sorts) is now looking likely.
The council met with REFER earlier this week and two compromise arrangements are being pursued.
Meantime, true to Olhão form, locals are scampering backwards and forwards over the tracks no matter how much Refer objects, with at least three other “pirate crossings” reported to have been opened up along the line.
Today’s Correio da Manhã carries a photograph of two elderly (very British-looking) grey-clad foreigners helping each other gingerly across a stretch of open railway.
REFER’s constant warnings that this kind of behaviour is unsafe seems well and truly to have fallen on deaf ears.
As reported in the Resident for the last few weeks, since the authority closed the pedestrian crossing on Avenida Bernardino da Silva, locals have managed to open it up – and vow they will continue doing so.
REFER, for its part, continues to try and stop them. The authority has only just reinstated its blockade (dubbed Olhão’s Berlin Wall) but resident António Santos has assured CM that it will be opened up by locals “within a few days or so”.
The council hopes that the ping-pong saga will come to a close as soon as REFER opts for one of the two options now being studied – and before any accidents occur.
The first involves a new pedestrian tunnel (better than the one first offered by REFER which no-one but the most nimble-of-foot can manage) and the second centres on a metallic structure to try and transform the original “perilous” tunnel – also said to be prone to flooding.
As CM points out, locals are intrigued to see what happens next, but while REFER and the council go through their paces, Olhão’s dare-devils continue to “live on the edge”. Those who agreed to talk to CM said they will continue to use pirate crossings no matter how dangerous REFER suggests this practice may be.