Rail safety warning as crossing users seen taking selfies and lying on the track in Derbyshire: Matlock Bath - Children sit on rails while mother takes picture

Monday 26 Oct 2015

Rail safety warning as crossing users seen taking selfies and lying on the track in Derbyshire

Region & Route:
| Eastern

A stark warning has been issued after CCTV captured eight incidents of dangerous behaviour in a single day on a rural railway crossing in Derbyshire.

Video footage at Matlock Bath station caught adults and children taking selfies, talking on the phone while walking along the line and even sitting down to pose for pictures on the tracks. One group of up to ten people, including a toddler, spent over eight minutes on the railway taking photographs and chatting.

Network Rail is now urging crossing users to pay more respect to the railway and to use crossings safely before a serious incident takes place.

Martin Brown, operations risk advisor at Network Rail, said: “Level crossings in rural, picturesque settings such as Matlock may look like good opportunities for a photo but the railway is not a playground. Trains can come from either direction at any time and being distracted by chatting, texting or taking photographs while using the crossing significantly increases the risk of an incident.”

Inspector Eddie Carlin from British Transport Police said, "The photos captured are extremely worrying. We are really concerned someone is going to get seriously injured or killed at the crossing.

"Trespassing on the railway is extremely dangerous and can have tragic consequences for those involved. I have had to tell devastated families that their loved ones are not coming home due to incidents such as this and it's heartbreaking.

"The railway is a dangerous environment. Trains travel at speed and can be silent and if people are trespassing on the tracks and are distracted taking photos, selfies or texting they really are putting themselves in danger, no photo or text is worth risking your life.

"We have increased patrols in the area and are keen to speak to the people pictured to reinforce our concerns about their reckless and dangerous behaviour. If you recognise them please contact us on 0800 405040 or text 61016"

Matlock Bath has a foot crossing with a Stop, Look and Listen sign at the crossing gate. It sees over 30 trains per day and is used by over 500 pedestrians and cyclists.

The advice for using crossings such as Matlock Bath 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 crossing in a large group, make sure there is enough time and space for everyone to cross safely. Always keep dogs on a lead when near the railway.

Anyone who witnesses misuse at a crossing should contact the British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40.

Notes to editors

  • The attached photographs were all captured at Matlock Bath level crossing on Sunday, 30 August 2015.
  • There are approximately 6,100 level crossings in Britain. Level crossings were built with the Victorian railway more than 100 years ago when there were far fewer trains, at slower speeds and fewer people and road traffic. If the railway was being built now, level crossings would not be used.
  • There are many different types of crossings, all with different safety measures in place from signs, to barriers and klaxons. See www.networkrail.co.uk/level-crossings/types-of-level-crossing/.
  • Network Rail is investing £100m in the next couple of years to reduce risk at level crossings and improve safety. The ongoing programme of activity includes:

- Network Rail’s dedicated community safety team which aims to reduce railway crime

- Level crossing closure programme which has seen more than 900 closed over the past five years

- Investment in upgrading and improving level crossings

- Mobile camera enforcement vans

- Developing better and cost-effective ways of detecting and recording level crossings misuse

Contact information

Passengers / community members
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Network Rail press office - Toby Higgins
Head of Communications
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0330 333 1800

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