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October 27, 2015

Network Rail warns people against taking photos on railway tracks

UK rail infrastructure operator Network Rail (NR) has warned people to stop taking photos on railway tracks.

Matlock Bath station

UK rail infrastructure operator Network Rail (NR) has warned people to stop taking photos on railway tracks.

The warning was issued after CCTV captured eight such dangerous incidents on the same spot in a single day on 30 August, at a level crossing in Matlock Bath station in Derbyshire.

The video footage shows adults and children taking selfies, talking on the phone while walking along the line, and even sitting down to pose for pictures on the tracks.

A group of about ten people, including a toddler, spent more than 8min on the line taking photographs and chatting.

Two children sitting on the rails were seen photographed by their mother on the level crossing, where more than 30 trains pass every day.

"Trespassing on the railway is extremely dangerous and can have tragic consequences for those involved."

Used by more than 500 pedestrians and cyclists, Matlock Bath has a foot crossing with a warning sign at the crossing gate.

Network Rail operations risk adviser Martin Brown said: "Level crossings in rural, picturesque settings such as Matlock may look like good opportunities for a photo but the railway is not a playground.

"Trains can come from either direction at any time and being distracted by chatting, texting or taking photographs while using the crossing significantly increases the risk of an incident."

Network Rail is now urging people to use crossings safely before a serious incident takes place.

British Transport police inspector Eddie Carlin said: "The photos captured are extremely worrying. We are really concerned someone is going to get seriously injured or killed at the crossing.

"Trespassing on the railway is extremely dangerous and can have tragic consequences for those involved. I have had to tell devastated families that their loved ones are not coming home due to incidents such as this and it’s heartbreaking.

"The railway is a dangerous environment. Trains travel at speed and can be silent and if people are trespassing on the tracks and are distracted taking photos, selfies or texting they really are putting themselves in danger, no photo or text is worth risking your life.

"We have increased patrols in the area and are keen to speak to the people pictured to reinforce our concerns about their reckless and dangerous behaviour."

Level crossings were built with the Victorian railway more than 100 years ago when there were fewer and slower trains.

There are about 6,100 level crossings in the UK, but more than 900 have been closed over the past five years.


Image: Children sit on rails posing for a photograph. Photo: courtesy of Network Rail.

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