VIDEO: Warning after two trains forced to make emergency stops when crossing users ignore red lights in Kent: Cyclist trespass 2

Friday 26 Mar 2021

VIDEO: Warning after two trains forced to make emergency stops when crossing users ignore red lights in Kent

Region & Route:
Southern
| Southern: Kent

Two near misses on level crossings in Kent have moved rail bosses to warn people enjoying the warmer weather to respect red lights and lockdown.

In one shocking video captured by Network Rail's level crossing cameras four adult male cyclists can be seen completely ignoring a red warning light to cross the railway line at Pebble Lane, on the main line between Rochester and Sole Street, not only breaching lockdown but also causing a train to brake to a stop.

The last cyclist makes it across the railway with just three seconds to spare and if the driver of the approaching train had not applied his emergency brake in time, he could well have been killed. 

In another similar incident at a crossing at Ripple, near Deal a single cyclist can be seen trying to cross, without dismounting his bicycle, just before an approaching train. Had his chain slipped or malfunctioned, he would have been stranded in front of the oncoming train, and again the driver had to make an emergency stop.

It comes the week after new figures revealed a shocking 38% increase in youth trespass incidents in South East London and Kent after the region emerged from the first national lockdown- there are now concerns this might be being replicated by adults.

Network Rail Head of Route Quality Health Safety & Environment, Vincent van der Hoeven, said: “I’m really saddened by the attitude of these adult cyclists in two recent incidents. People often assume that misusing level crossings is something young people do, but these were adults who must be fully aware that crossing in front of a train poses not just a danger to them but to the driver and passengers of the approaching train as well.

“We are all complying with the COVID lockdown out of respect for life and I would ask people to treat the risk of the railway with the same respect.”

"The instructions at level crossings are clear. Please don’t ignore them.”

Inspector Jon Pine from the Britsh Transport Police, said: “In nearly twenty years of policing I have seen few examples of such senselessly idiotic behaviour on a level crossing.  These cyclists clearly had absolutely no regard for their own safety or that of others – and I speak from experience when I say we could have easily been dealing with the catastrophic consequences.

"Trespass is of course a criminal offence and we’d be more than happy to educate these cyclists on the very real dangers of the railway.”

Anyone with information on either incident should text the British Transport Police on 61016.

Jim Maxwell, Head of Drivers for Southeastern, added: “Our drivers are critical workers delivering a very important service to get people who have to travel to where they need to be during the current crisis, and don’t deserve the extra stress that these types of incidents cause.

“Reckless trespass incidents like this can have a profound effect on our drivers’ mental health and I fully support our colleagues at Network Rail and the British Transport Police in trying to identify and pursue the culprits.”

Network Rail has worked with British Transport Police on the uncompromising You vs Train campaign for three years, aiming to educate young people on the devastating and wide-reaching consequences of trespass but the message to adults is the same - Don't risk your lives or others by trespassing on the railway when a red light is displayed.

Notes to Editors

  1. The video of the trespass can be viewed here: https://network-rail.wistia.com/medias/ah4791lc8i and can be used with a credit to 'Network Rail'.
  2. Stats (January 1 - March 24 2021) provided by Network Rail’s National Safety Analysis and Reporting team
  3. Stats provided by British Transport Police’s National Disruption Fusion Unit
  4. Footage of single cyclist captured 8 March 2021, level crossing at Ripple near Deal in Kent
  5. Footage of group of four cyclists captured 21 March 2021, level crossing at Pebble Lane - on the main line between Rochester and Sole Street in Kent

Contact information

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

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Journalists
Network Rail press office - Chris Denham
Media relations manager (Kent)
020 3357 7969
07515 626530
chris.denham@networkrail.co.uk

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