Warning after children as young as six spotted trespassing on North-East railways

Children believed to be as young as six have been spotted tresspassing near the region’s railway lines since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 8:05 pm
Updated Friday, 24th April 2020, 10:23 am

A spate of incidents – with locations including Sunderland, Durham City, and Morpeth – has led rail bosses and transport police to remind youngsters and their families that trains are still operating on tracks throughout the North East.

Aside from the likely fatal consequences of colliding with trains, trespassers also face dangers from 25,000 volts of electricity running through overhead wires on some lines.

Among the 22 incidents reported on railway premises in the North East since the March 23 lockdown are:

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Network Rail has reported a worrying spate of incidents on railway land in the North East since the onset of the coronavirus crisis.

:: Three people trespassing close to tracks - one believed to be around six-years-old;

:: Four youths trespassing on the railway;

:: Children on a railway gantry;

:: A youth running across the tracks to another platform;

A Network Rail photo promoting rail safety.

:: A young adult using the railway as a shortcut.

Dawn Sweeting, community safety manager for Network Rail, which owns and operates the UK railway infrastructure, said: “These trespass incidents in the North East are shocking and show

many people are oblivious to the dangers they are putting themselves, their friends or their loved ones in.

“It’s never safe to hang around on the railway or use it to take shortcuts, but sadly too many people ignore the warning signs and take risks that have resulted in tragic consequences.

“We’ve seen a worrying number of incidents at a time when people should be following Government guidelines and staying at home where possible. We are urging people to stay safe and stay off the tracks.”

Superintendent Alison Evans, of British Transport Police, added: “Your safety is our number one priority, and we are continuing to proactively patrol the thousands of miles of railway across the country.

“The railway is an extremely hazardous place, and trespass incidents like these can quite easily lead to death or catastrophic injuries.

"I’d urge parents and carers who live in the area to check where their children are playing and speak to them about the risks of the railway, so they understand that everyone loses when they step on the track.”

Further information about rail safety is available via www.youvstrain.co.uk/

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