Thursday 18 Nov 2004

NETWORK RAIL LAYS SAFETY WARNING ON THE LINE

Region & Route:
Scotland
Network Rail has delivered a stern warning to parents and children following three separate incidents on and near the railway line in Kirkcaldy this month so far.  A train driver reported a youth on the line pointing an air rifle at passing trains at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy.  Two other train drivers reported separate incidents of stone throwing in the same area.  One train sustained a smashed windscreen, while the other received damage to the carriage body. Ron McAulay, Route Director Scotland for Network Rail said:  “We cannot stress enough the need to keep children and youths away from the railway and would appeal to parents to ensure they know where their children are playing, particularly in the dark evenings.  Everyone, including parents, has a part to play in getting the serious message across that playing and acts of vandalism on the railway can result in serious injury, even death.” Despite a downward trend in railway trespass and vandalism in Scotland this year, a number of problem areas remain.  As well as Kirkcaldy, these include Aberdeen, Barrhead, Polmont, Priesthill, Darnley and the west of Edinburgh. Ron McAulay added:  “Many of these incidents are carried out by young children who don’t understand the severe consequences that can result, not only to themselves but to others. “I would urge members of the public to report any trespassers or people causing damage on Scotland’s rail network.  Anyone with information regarding offences should call the British Transport Police on the freephone number 0800 40 50 40.” Inspector John Clark of the British Transport Police said:   “We have dedicated route crime officers who constantly patrol the railway in an effort to deter and detect those trespassing. Recently officers have apprehended two males who had walked along the line in order to abseil from a railway viaduct. This sort of behaviour is extremely dangerous but what causes even more concern is the type of incident officers dealt with in the north of Glasgow where 4 children aged between 8 and 10 years were removed from a busy railway line. “The whole industry works hard to prevent this type of incident and I cannot stress enough how important it is that parents are aware of the dangers posed when children trespass on the railway. I know how difficult and painful officers find it when they have to knock on someone’s door to deliver tragic news “ As well as serious risks to lives, crime on the railway costs in excess of £10 million in Scotland, causing approximately 100,000 minutes delay to its passengers every year.  Trespass on the railway is a crime and carries a fine of up to £1,000.

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