Gangs dice with danger on railway lines

South Ribble Council leader Margaret Smith at Leyland Railway Station
South Ribble Council leader Margaret Smith at Leyland Railway Station

Gangs of youths are dicing with death on Leyland’s railway tracks.

Police have revealed young people have been spotted congregating or taking shortcuts over the lines seven times in the last year.

In the latest incident, a hooded gang were spotted walking up the tracks of the busy West Coast mainline during the night.

Leyland’s station has 250 trains passing through at around 125mph without stopping on a normal day.

Two of the seven incidents on record involve people under the influence of alcohol walking across the lines at the station to reach platforms, instead of using the footbridge. Now, British Transport Police (BTP) have issued a stern warning to the railway-walkers, accusing them of risking their lives for the sake of taking a short cut.

A spokesman for BTP said: “During the past 12 months there have been seven confirmed incidents of trespass at or near Leyland railway station.

“It seems that some people are nipping across the track as a short cut, rather than using the correct means to cross the railway.

“I cannot over-emphasise just how dangerous this is and the practice needs to stop right now.”

He added: “Anyone who trespasses on the line is placing their life at risk and no BTP officer wants to have to tell a family that their loved one isn’t coming home, simply because they were trying to take a short cut.

“Aside from the obvious danger, trespassing is also illegal.

“Make no mistake; if you are caught, BTP will seek the strongest possible sanctions.”

In the latest incident, a group of four teens were seen on the train tracks close to Boundary Street early on a Sunday morning.

A resident in the area called the police when they saw the gang walk along the lines and climb some maintenance steps, before heading up the embankment at the bottom of Boundary Street.

BTP received a call at 3.15am and the youths were said to be heading towards the train station. Council bosses now hope the £450,000 funding boost to Leyland’s station, which include CCTV cameras, will deter people.

South Ribble Council leader, Margaret Smith, said: “We want to introduce CCTV cameras to the station for the safety of passengers and people accessing the station, and reports of youths walking on the tracks was something we considered during this process.

“It might act as a deterrent to potential wrong-doers, or it might help BTP to identify those who do trespass.

“But I can’t for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to walk on the tracks, so I don’t know if it’s going to take something more serious than CCTV cameras to stop people from doing it.

“Is it going to take someone getting hurt for people to get the message?”

She added: “I would have thought people would be more worried about getting electrocuted than being caught on CCTV, but hopefully the cameras will make people aware that they’re being watched.”