Runcorn Rover’s Return: Railway workers rescue couple’s missing pooch: Rover in contractor Eric Formby's arms

Friday 5 Jun 2020

Runcorn Rover’s Return: Railway workers rescue couple’s missing pooch

Region & Route:
North West & Central
| North West & Central: Central

A couple has been reunited with their much-loved missing pet dog after a four-day search of the railway in Cheshire.

Rover, an 18-month-old Cocker Spaniel, went missing in Runcorn on 30 May causing his owners Alan and Laura a weekend of worry.

After receiving a report of the missing pup, Network Rail mobile operations manager Andy Smith went to look for him.

On Tuesday (2 June) Andy found Rover, but he escaped again before finally being brought to safety away from the railway line.

To help round up the poor pooch, Andy enlisted the help of Dave Ball, Network Rail off-track team leader, and railway maintenance workers from contractor EA Formby Ltd, who all immediately downed tools for the continued search.

The team eventually found run-away Rover on a railway embankment about two miles from where he had escaped. 

After 15 minutes of patiently waiting for the cautious canine to accept their help, the team managed to coax Rover to safety and he was returned to owners Alan and Laura after four days of hide and seek.

Dave Ball, off-track team leader at Network Rail, said: “Many of us in my team are dog lovers with pets of our own. Rover is a beautiful Cocker Spaniel and clearly well looked after, so we are so happy that he is reunited safely with his family. 

“It must have been really scary for Rover by the railway and we’re really glad to have got him safely away from danger and back home where he belongs.”

Owners Alan and Laura were overjoyed to be reunited with Rover. 

Alan said: “We are so grateful to the efforts of the team at Network Rail who rescued Rover. We’ve got our little family back together and we couldn’t be happier.”

Network Rail worked with local group ‘Bindi’s Lost and Found Pets’ in the search for the missing dog.

Donna Ryan, founder of Bindi’s Lost and Found Pets, said: “We had been looking for Rover for four days in the very hot weather. I am very happy he was returned to Alan and Laura. We are very grateful to Network Rail and the Runcorn community for their work to find him.” 

Because the railway is very dangerous, anyone who sees a dog on the track is advised to ring the Network Rail helpline on 03457 11 41 41 so our specially trained staff can help.

Please never venture onto railway lines to look for an animal yourself as there are many hidden dangers on the tracks and the consequences could be fatal.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - North West & Central Region
0330 854 0100

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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