Warning over railway crossing dangers

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Matlock Bath - Children sit on rails while mother takes picture © Network Rail

Children sit on rails while a mother takes pictures. Pic © Network Rail

A stark warning has been issued to Merseyside rail users to highlight the dangers of playing on train tracks.

The alert comes after CCTV captured eight separate incidents of dangerous behaviour over a 24 hour period on a rural railway track crossing.

Shocking images emerged from Matlock Bath station in Derbyshire as footage showed 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.

One group of up to ten people, including a toddler, spent over eight minutes on the railway taking photographs and chatting.

Network Rail is now urging users of railway crossings to pay more attention before a serious incident takes place.

A Network Rail spokesperson for the North West told JMU Journalism: “Level crossings in rural, picturesque settings in Merseyside 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.”

Inspector Eddie Carlin from British Transport Police has said that the pictures that have recently been published are “extremely worrying” and he is afraid that someone is going to be killed or seriously injured as a result of being careless at railway stations.

He said: “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.”

Crossing users have been reminded to stop, look and listen for a train before opening a gate. If the track is clear, open the gate and walk across the track to the other side.

There are approximately 6,100 level crossings in Britain, with 38 of those being in Merseyside.

Network Rail is investing £100m in the next couple of years to reduce risk at level crossings and improve safety. They have closed over 900 level crossings over the past five years.

About Callum Smyth, JMU Journalism