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Network Rail has released a warning urging people to stay off the tracks as reports of trespass incidents have surged since lockdown began.
The incidents have led to a number of delays for NHS staff and other key workers heading to work.
Since lockdown started, the number of delays caused by trespassers has increased, with 65 incidents reported across the Western route, which includes Cornwall, Devon, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Wiltshire.
Reported incidents include teenagers playing chicken on the tracks in North Somerset, attempted cable theft in Oxfordshire, objects placed on the tracks in Devon and young people dangling their legs over the edge of a bridge in Wiltshire.
The figures that have been released also include 28 level crossing misuse and vandalism incidents.
Credit: Network Rail
Steve Melanophy, community safety manager for Network Rail, said “These trespass incidents are shocking, and show how many people are oblivious to the dangers they are putting themselves, their friends or loved ones in. It’s never safe to hang around on the railway or use it to take shortcuts, but sadly too many people ignore the warning signs and take risks that have resulted in tragic consequences. We’ve seen a worrying number of incidents at a time where people should be following Government guidelines and staying at home where possible. We are urging people to stay safe and stay off the tracks.”
GWR operates trains across the Western Region
Credit: Great Western RailwaySuperintendent Mark Cleland, British Transport Police, said “Trespass on the railway is a criminal offence and can lead to a fine or imprisonment. More importantly, the non-public parts of the railway can be a dangerous environment for those who do not have permission to be there. Trespass often leads to death and serious injury for those who are ignorant of the inherent dangers and so the message is clear, use common sense, don’t take risks, do not trespass on the railway and in these times, stay safe, stay at home, protect the NHS.”
This article first appeared on www.railadvent.co.uk
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