Number of railway trespassers risking their lives highest since records began
The number of people risking their lives by trespassing on Britain’s railways has reached a peak, new figures show.
An average of one person encroaches on the tracks every hour, according to Network Rail and British Transport Police.
Last year, there were 8,265 such incidents, up 11% on 2015.
This is the highest amount since current records began in 2007.
Footage has been released showing a number of trespassers involved in near misses with speeding trains.
Some 115 offenders have been killed over the past five years, with just under half younger than 25.
Trespassing incidents involving youths double during spring and summer compared with winter.
Network Rail’s head of public and passenger safety, Allan Spence, said: "Every April we see a huge rise in the number of people taking a risk on the rail network and it’s worrying that these numbers seem to be going up.
"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 125mph, so even if they see you, they can’t stop in time."
Taking a short cut is the most common motivation for trespassing, followed by thrill-seeking.
Simon Munn, a wheelchair basketball player who represented Britain at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, lost his leg in a railway accident when he was 22.
He was walking home from a pub and trespassed on the railway to avoid taking an extra five minutes to reach a crossing.
"As I crossed the track I got my foot caught," he recalled.
"I don’t know how long I was there, but I heard the train coming. I couldn’t move.
"Trains moving that fast can’t stop in time to miss you and they can’t swerve. It’s too late by then.
"I spent the next few weeks in hospital and had to have my leg amputated.
"Now I really know what the cost of trespassing and taking short cuts can be. I was lucky it wasn’t my life."