Railway menaces risk lives

PEOPLE are being warned to stop gambling with their own and other people’s lives by carrying out dangerous acts on train tracks.

British Transport Police today revealed a catalogue of incidents on railway lines in and around Hartlepool.

The incidents include:

l A man dangling his feet over the Crimdon viaduct, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, at 6pm on August 4;

l A man walking on to the railway tracks at Hartlepool Train Station for which police were called and he was issued with a fixed penalty notice on July 19;

l Four children being spotted by a train driver climbing on to the roof of the trackside equipment store outside Hartlepool Train Station on July 17;

l A man who had wandered onto the tracks at Hartlepool Train Station and had to be asked to leave by staff on June 28;

l A shopping trolley being thrown on to the tracks near Newburn Bridge, in Hartlepool, which was spotted by a train driver and removed on June 17.

Inspector Brian Buddo, of British Transport Police, said not only are incidents like these dangerous, but they also slow down the whole train network.

He told the Hartlepool Mail: “Anyone who trespasses on to the railway is taking a gamble with their own lives, as well as the lives of all the staff and passengers travelling on the trains.

“The railway is an inherently dangerous environment, with high speed trains and electric currents, and it should never be treated as a playground or somewhere to hang about.

“If you are caught deliberately obstructing the railway or trespassing on the tracks and endangering people’s safety, we will do everything in our power to prosecute you and put you before the courts. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.”

He added: “We often see an increase in incidents involving youngsters during the school holidays. They may not even realise what they are doing is dangerous, but it couldn’t be more so.

“When the railway hears reports of trespassers, all services in that area are forced to slow down, which has the knock-on effect of delaying subsequent trains – often right across the network.

“During the summer months our officers will be out and about across the network, paying particular attention to hot-spot areas, to deter youngsters from venturing on to the railway and to take action against those who fail to heed the warnings.

“The message is simple, stop causing trouble, stay safe and stay off the tracks.”

To report a crime to British Transport Police, please call 0800 405040, or in an emergency call 999.