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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Network Rail issues safety warning after shocking CCTV footage shows people deliberately misusing a level crossing in West Berkshire

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A CCTV camera at Calcot Mill level crossing West Berkshire recently captured footage of people trespassing on the railway to pose for photographs on the track. 

The shocking footage shows two cyclists entering the level crossing so that one of them can take a picture of the other on a stretch of the railway where 130 trains a day pass through at up to 100mph. 

The release of the footage captured in Holybrook Linear Park follows a concerning rise in the number of trespass incidents across Network Rail’s Western route, which runs from Penzance to London Paddington. 

The majority of these incidents have been reported in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Trowbridge, Bridgwater, Plymouth and in and around Bristol, especially near stations and on level and foot crossings. Many of the reports have involved children and young people.  

Several incidents of people walking on the tracks in these areas or playing on foot crossings have been reported to British Transport Police (BTP) and measures have been put in place to tackle the issue, including additional signage, installing cameras, and hosting educational events.  

As well as the risk of being struck by a train, electrification on parts of the route adds further danger to anyone who engages in this behaviour, as 25,000 volts of electricity can jump from overhead lines. Fast-moving trains, slippery lineside conditions and unsteady ground combine to create a serious risk of devastating life-changing injuries, or loss of life. 

Andy Phillips, Network Rail programme manager for route crime, said: “Incidents of trespass on the railway cause issues for everyone using the network, where an individual could sustain life- changing injuries and in the worst-case scenario, loss of life. A photo for social media is never worth the risk of putting yourself in this extremely dangerous situation. 

“It is disappointing to see people blatantly disregarding their own and others’ safety. We sincerely urge people to stay off the tracks and ensure they understand the risks of trespassing. Anyone who witnesses any trespass incidents is encouraged to report what they’ve seen to BTP via the text service on 61016.”  

Richard Pedley, Network Rail’s Western route level crossing manager, said: “The level crossing at Calcot Mill is on a section of very high-speed line with around 130 trains per day. It is crucial that the level crossing is only used as a means of getting across the railway, and under no circumstances should people loiter or play on crossings and put their lives at risk.” 

Mark Cleland, British Transport Police superintendent for Western, said: “Trespassing on the railway is not only illegal but it can result in life-changing injuries or even death. Electrified lines and trains which travel at speeds of up to 125mph, often silently, make the railway an extremely dangerous place to be.  I would urge parents and carers to have conversations with their loved ones about these dangers. 

“Where we know trespass is a concern, we will increase our patrols, looking proactively for those breaking the law.  I would urge any member of the public who witnesses anyone trespassing to let us know by texting or calling us on 61016.  In an emergency, always dial 999.” 

Image/video credit: Network Rail

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