Network Rail issues safety warning as troubling footage emerges of children throwing railway ballast at passing cars near Billingham: Billingham trespass

Friday 2 Jun 2023

Network Rail issues safety warning as troubling footage emerges of children throwing railway ballast at passing cars near Billingham

Region & Route:
| Eastern: North & East

Footage caught on CCTV cameras shows people trespassing and vandalising nearby cars on the lines in Billingham, County Durham.

Shocking footage has captured a child throwing ballast, stones that form the base of the railway, at cars on the A19 from the tracks. This behaviour poses a serious risk to road and rail users as well as the individual themselves.

Since April 2022 there has been 27 recorded incidents of trespass, these risky actions may have fatal or severely damaging impacts on the individuals, their families, and everyone else involved. This behaviour also sharply increases travel times for passengers, which, in this area, adds up to just under 900 minutes of delay since April 2022.

These trespassers are largely young people, as well as some dog walkers, cutting across from one area to another as a shortcut.

There are a large number of videos and images of trespassers that covert cameras are picking up in this area, including of the vandalism taking place next to the A19. Network Rail community safety teams are planning school visits in the area, to talk to children about the dangerous and potentially fatal consequences of trespassing on the railway. They will also be taking images into schools to see if anyone recognises the individual throwing stones at cars.

Our specialist community safety managers are working to increase public awareness of the dangers of trespassing on the railway, particularly in trespassing hotspots. Due to the sharp increase of trespass, British Transport Police and our mobile operations managers will be conducting patrols in the area.

The general public is reminded that trespassing on the railway is illegal and dangerous. Offenders may face legal action and a £1,000 fine.

Matt Rice, Route Director for Network Rail’s North and East Route, said: "The railway is not a playground and it is deeply concerning to see people taking serious risks to their own and other people's safety.

"Trespassing incidents on the railway are dangerous for everyone who uses the system since they can result in serious injuries or, in the worst instance, fatalities.

"We urge the general public to report any instances of trespassing they see to the BTP, as well as parents, teachers, and other responsible people to make sure children understand the dangers of trespassing."

Chris Smith, officer for the British Transport Police, said: "Trespass incidents of this nature cause a serious risk to life as trains cannot stop as quickly as cars.

"The dangers those witnessed are willing to put themselves in for a “shortcut” or to behave in an anti-social manner is unfathomable. 

"Those witnessed throwing stones to the dual carriageway below again is inherently dangerous and may result in severe damage to cars and serious or fatal injuries to drivers and passengers of many different vehicles."


Notes to Editors

Please contact Jake Nabi to obtain the CCTV footage by emailing

Contact information

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

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Jake Nabi
Media Relations Manager
Network Rail

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