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Published on : Saturday, August 6, 2016
Network Rail has issued an urgent warning to level crossing users after CCTV cameras captured three young people stopping on the railway tracks at a footpath crossing in West Grimstead, just outside of Salisbury, to pose for a selfie.
Priti Patel, head of health and safety for Network Rail’s Wessex route, has appealed for users to remain vigilant to the dangers posed by the railway: “I cannot emphasise enough that the railway is not a playground. More than 80 trains go over this crossing at 85mph in both directions every day, so while you might think there is enough time to stop for a picture, it is incredibly easy to be caught out by an oncoming train especially if you are distracted.
“The last thing we want is for a family to lose their loved one over a selfie, so I strongly urge everyone to use level crossings safely and to stay alert.”The incident took place as Network Rail launched a campaign aimed at cutting levels of trespass on the railway. Trespass on the tracks can double during the summer, compared to winter months, as a result of longer days and school holidays.
Speaking on the launch of the campaign, Graham Hopkins, group safety, technical and engineering director explained: “We are urging parents to remind their children that if they are on the railway, they are on dangerous ground. It may seem like a good idea to take a shortcut, or like fun to play on the tracks, but this is not only illegal, it is also dangerous.
“Britain has the safest railway in Europe but still too many people lose their lives on the tracks. As the railway gets busier and we electrify more lines to improve services, we must work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers that exist. Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.”
The advice for using crossings gated footpath crossings such as West Grimstead is:
Stop, Look and Listen for a train before opening the gate. If there is one coming then wait until it is has passed and you are sure there isn’t a second one approaching
Once sure the track is clear, open the gate and walk across the track to the other side – without rushing. Make sure the gate is closed behind you.
If within a large group space out into smaller groups and follow the advice above each time a group crosses. Always keep dogs on a lead when near the railway.