In a month where pedestrians have taken some serious risks on the rail network including a near miss involving a youth near Jordanstown, Translink has revealed the top areas for trespass incidents.
Since the beginning of summer this year there have been over 300 recorded incidents of pedestrian trespass, with almost fifty of those taking place on the Londonderry line. One of these involved a train driver having to make an emergency brake application when he saw three children sitting on the middle of the tracks. The children ran off but the driver was left extremely shaken.
Other shocking incidents include three youths playing chicken on the tracks at Meetinghouse Lane, Dunmurry and young males using the tracks as a shortcut at Bleach Green.
Mark Atkinson, Head of Civil Engineering at Translink said, “There are obviously serious risks associated with trespassing on the rail network-life changing injuries or even death. Our trains travel at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour and if a driver has to apply the emergency brakes, it will take over 900 metres for the train to stop. In other words, not even the fastest athlete on the planet could outrun a train.
“During holiday periods, incidents of pedestrian trespass on the rail network unfortunately often increase. The network can look like a handy shortcut or a good place to play, but the risks are just not worth it.
Aside from the very obvious risks to life and wellbeing associated with trespass, every time we receive reports of pedestrians on the rail network, we have to apply a ‘caution’ or speed restriction of 5 mph to trains operating in the area until we are assured that the area is clear. This results in delays to services and impacts our passengers.
We work closely with PSNI neighbourhood policing teams around Northern Ireland throughout the year to identify and prosecute trespassers. We would appeal to parents, guardians and teachers to remind young people in their care to never use the tracks as a shortcut or a playground.”
For more information on Translink’s safety activity go to www.translink.co.uk/railsafety