Network Rail issues warning after numerous trespass incidents at Motspur Park in south west London

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Network Rail is urging passengers and users of Motspur Park station to use the designated diversion following a number of recent trespass incidents.

Over the past couple of weeks there have been five reported instances of trespass in which passengers have risked their lives by walking along the railway as a shortcut instead of following a temporary diversionary route.

Access to and from the station platforms from Station Road via the existing footbridge temporarily closed in July to facilitate a works compound, to support the construction of a new accessible footbridge due for completion next Spring.

Following the closure of Station Road, a designated diversionary route was put in place in which passengers needing to access the platforms were directed over the level crossing at West Barnes Lane, right onto Claremont Avenue and then over the station footbridge via a lane between house numbers 156 and 158.

However, CCTV has captured several instances in which passengers – including both adults and children – who have arrived at the station wanting to access Station Road and east of the station, have foregone the diversion and instead risked their lives by leaving the platform and walking around 50 metres along the live railway before departing at the level crossing.

Network Rail is working closely with South Western Railway (SWR) and the British Transport Police (BTP) to tackle this issue by providing additional guards at the station, increasing the number of BTP patrols at both the station and the level crossing as well as installing anti-trespass panels – known as Witches Hats – at the level crossing.

Helen Yorke, Network Rail’s Wessex route crime manager, said: “Its mind-blowing to see the stupid and reckless behaviour of individuals who are disregarding their own and other people’s safety by trespassing on the railway instead of following a designated diversion.

“Trains that travel on the railway through Motspur Park and across our Wessex route more widely are powered by the third rail which contains 750 volts – easily enough to kill or seriously injure – and is on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Trespassing on the railway is not only extremely dangerous but is also a crime and we are working closely with our partners at SWR and the BTP to increase patrols and prevent any further instances of trespass. I urge passengers and members of the public to take responsibility for their own safety and follow the short, designated diversionary route.”

A spokesperson for the British Transport Police, said: “Trespassing on any part of the rail network is something we take extremely seriously. Not only is it illegal, but this environment is full of hidden dangers that can result in serious and life-ending consequences.

“We continuously work with partners, such as Network Rail, train operators and local communities to raise the awareness of these dangers and we will always take action against those who trespass whenever we can.”

An SWR spokesperson said: “We are growing increasingly concerned by some of the behaviour we are witnessing at Motspur Park. It is shocking to think that individuals are trespassing on the live railway just to save a few minutes of walking time. Trains can pass through this area at speeds of up to 60mph and there is the constant threat of the electrified third rail. Customers should not access the track under any circumstances and should use the diversionary walking route as intended.”

Image/video credit: Network Rail

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