Spike in people using railway line as walking route in Dawlish: Dawlish trespass 1

Wednesday 30 Jun 2021

Spike in people using railway line as walking route in Dawlish

Region & Route:
Wales & Western
| Wales & Western: Western

British Transport Police (BTP) and Network Rail have issued a stark warning after several recent incidents of trespass on the railway line in Dawlish, Devon.

While Network Rail completes work on the new sea wall which runs alongside the railway, the footpath has been closed and a safe, temporary route has been put in place between Dawlish and Dawlish Warren station.

Since the footpath has been temporarily closed several incidents of people climbing on the wall and walking alongside the railway, where trains on the line can travel up to 75mph, have been reported.

The month of May saw an increase in reports, with 18 incidents occurring on the line and multiple people caught on camera in recent weeks.

In one instance, a person climbed on to the railway line with a dog, that wasn’t on a lead, causing a train to make an emergency stop.

Other instances have seen individuals injuring themselves by falling from the wall and needing assistance to get off the tracks.

These latest incidents follow similar instances of trespassing on the railway at Dawlish in April.

BTP and Network Rail are urging people to stay off the tracks and use the designated temporary route. 

Trespass is illegal, and people could face up to £1,000 fine and be left with a criminal record.

Embedded Inspector Darren Burridge from British Transport Police, said: “We see hundreds of people taking risks on and around the railway every year, resulting in tragic consequences or life-changing injuries. Both outcomes are avoidable.

“Our network of uniformed and plain-clothed police officers, and over 150,000 CCTV cameras, monitor the railway 24/7 – we will actively pursue and take positive action against those who fail to comply with the simple instruction not to trespass.”

Alison Kramer, Community Safety Manager for Network Rail’s Western route, said: “During the half term holidays at the end of May, Network Rail staff spent the week on the sea wall talking to visitors about the work, explaining the diversion route and providing everyone with maps, so I am appalled that this type of reckless behaviour is still happening.

“The diversion adds a few minutes onto the time it takes to walk between Dawlish and Dawlish Warren, is it really worth risking yours and other people’s lives for the sake of a few minutes?

“The diversion route is there to ensure the safe running of the railway and we urge everyone to observe it. I encourage anyone who may witness acts of illegal trespassing to report it the British Transport Police.”

Anyone who spots someone trespassing is asked to contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40. Always ring 999 in an emergency.

BTP and Network Rail run a hard-hitting safety campaign, You Vs Train, which highlights the devastating consequences that trespassing on the railway can have. Find out more at youvstrain.co.uk

Contact information

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

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Rob Breckon
Media Relations Manager - Western
Network Rail
07395 390759

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.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk