Thursday 30 Oct 2003


Region & Route:
Network Rail is warning children in the Euxton (Chorley) area not to be so stupid after a group interfered with a coal train while it was waiting at a red signal near Balshaw Lane station at about 4 pm on Tuesday (28 October). The train was being held at the signal to allow other faster trains to go past. When the driver got a green light and started to pull away, he suddenly lost all air pressure to his train. This automatically applied the brakes and the train stopped just a few yards up the track. The driver went back to check the train and found that the last three wagons had been uncoupled from the rest of the train. From a railway operating point of view, there were no safety implications because as soon as the front part of the train moved off, it severed the brake pipe releasing the air, which meant that the brakes came on on both portions of the train. However, the children who uncoupled the wagons put themselves in extreme danger in several ways and that is the point that Network Rail wants to get across. The shackle between the wagons had to be loosened and then lifted off the coupling hooks. It is an extremely heavy piece of equipment, which could easily have crushed a foot if it had been dropped. - more - Warning – 2 The children were in danger of being hit by trains passing close by on the track next to the freight train. Perhaps most importantly, however, is the fact that the train could have moved off at any time while the children were underneath and between the wagons. The consequences do not bear thinking about had any of the children become trapped or caught underneath the wheels – they could easily have been killed or severely injured. Network Rail Regional Director Tim Clarke said: “What they did caused nothing more than inconvenience and a waste of time and effort to the rail industry. What the children don’t realise is just how much danger they were in. They got away with it this time – they may not be so lucky in future.”

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