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Translink reveal 'major risk taking' on train tracks - as they release number of prosecutions in past year

By Claire Williamson

Published 07/09/2015

A Translink train
A Translink train

Translink have revealed the "major risk taking" by pedestrians and motorists in Northern Ireland including that a group of youths played a football match on the Ballymoney train track.

It comes as they release their total number of prosecutions for safety incidents in the past year which saw 74 people prosecuted and fines and costs awarded reaching over £14,000.

As well as the youths playing football - Translink also reported some "major risk taking" including pedestrians hanging off barriers at level crossings and dashing across tracks moments before trains are due to pass.

Translink said the safety incidents include failure to observe warning systems at level crossings which applies to pedestrians and motorists as well as trespassing.

Head of network operations at Translink Richard Knox said: “In the past year, NI Railways employees based around the rail network have reported some major risk taking by pedestrians, including a group of youths playing a football match on the tracks near Ballymoney station.

"We have also witnessed pedestrians hanging off barriers at level crossings and dashing across tracks moments before trains travelling at speeds of up to 70 mph are due to pass.

"Meanwhile, motorists continue to take risks by attempting to beat the barrier or ignoring warning systems at level crossings, in order to save a few minutes. We would take this opportunity to remind motorists that we now have CCTV at the majority of our crossings and we will continue to prosecute offenders who take risks and put themselves, our employees and passengers at risk."

Mr Knox said the majority of prosecutions in 2014/15 were due to people "ignoring warning signals at level crossings or attempting to ‘beat the barrier’ as the warning lights were flashing or the barriers were descending".

He said: "We are working more closely than ever with colleagues in the PSNI to ensure that risk takers are identified.  We also held a number of crossing awareness events around the rail network this summer at locations including Cullybackey, Antrim and Newtownabbey to educate motorists and pedestrians.

"At an average cost of almost £200* per prosecution, with the largest amount being over £500, these are significant amounts of money for an average motorist.  Coupled with the potential of penalty points being applied to the driving licences of offenders, increased insurance policies and potential coverage in local media, these should all serve as strong deterrents to potential offenders.”

For more information on Translink’s safety activity visit here

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