Greater Anglia’s #StayRailSafe campaign warns against dumping objects on the tracks

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Greater Anglia staff member on a train

People are risking their lives by abandoning objects – including bicycles, washing machines and shopping trolleys – on the railway line.

As part of its #StayRailSafe campaign, Greater Anglia, along with Network Rail and the British Transport Police, is warning people against putting objects on the tracks.

As the summer holidays get underway, the train operator typically sees an increase in the number of children playing near the tracks, and people dumping objects on the line.

During 2016, there were 69 incidents - more than one a week – on the Greater Anglia network. While these are not all deliberate acts, the rail operator is calling on people to be vigilant this summer and report any suspicious behaviour to the British Transport Police.

Objects including old pushchairs, bricks and even drain covers have been deliberately left on the tracks before.

Kevin Cox, a Greater Anglia driver based at Southend Victoria, hit a washing machine between Rochford and Southend Airport.

He said: “It was a nightmare scenario – I saw the washing machine and realised I couldn’t stop the train in time. Driving a train is different to driving a car because you can’t swerve. I immediately realised that there was no way of avoiding it.”

The train hit the washing machine, which became wedged under the carriages. The train then had to be taken out of service. Nobody was hurt.

Kevin added: “Not only is it dangerous, but if a train hits an object, it can injure customers, damage or even derail the train and cause delays and cancellations.”

Jay Thompson, Head of Safety, Security and Sustainability at Greater Anglia, said: “The railway is not a playground. People who put obstructions on the track are endangering their lives, and the lives of others. It’s incredibly dangerous to be near the tracks. Anyone who witnesses this type of behaviour should contact the British Transport Police immediately.”

This is the latest instalment of Greater Anglia’s #StayRailSafe campaign. The campaign has also highlighted the dangers of train surfing and trespassing on the tracks.

Richard Tew, Network Rail’s head of safety for Anglia, said: “Britain has the safest railway in Europe but still too many people lose their lives on the tracks. The dangers may not always be obvious but the electricity on the railway is always on and trains can travel up to 100 miles per hour, so even if they see you, they can’t stop in time. It may seem like fun to play on the tracks, but it is not only illegal, it is also very dangerous and can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.”

Inspector Matt Bass from British Transport Police, said: “Throwing objects onto the tracks is dangerous and can have devastating consequences. We will never tolerate this type of reckless behaviour and work closely with Greater Anglia and Network Rail to prevent and investigate incidents.

“This behaviour is not fun and it is not clever. If anyone ever witnesses someone placing items on the tracks than I would urge them to contact us by sending a text to 61016, in an emergency always call 999.”

Number of times a Greater Anglia train has struck an object

2013 74
2014 87
2015 68
2016 69
2017 (until 30 June 2017) 25