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Video: Shocking footage of rail trespassers running for their lives in train tunnel

By Ann W Schmidt

Published 21/09/2016

Two people in the tunnel are seen running from the approaching train
Two people in the tunnel are seen running from the approaching train
An attempt is made to flag the train down
The near miss happened on Northern Ireland's scenic north coast
A man is seen trying to flag the train down.

Terrifying footage of two pedestrians almost being run over by a train has been released as a warning to others.

Northern Ireland Railways released the film of the train approaching the tunnel at Downhill Strand, Co Londonderry as it announced that there were 304 recorded incidents of pedestrians trespassing in the last five months.

The footage of the near-fatal incident released yesterday was taken from the train itself last year.

As the train approaches the tunnel, a lifeguard waves down the driver to warn him about the two people wandering through the tunnel ahead.

They can be seen on the left in the tunnel just inches from death as they jump towards the wall as the train passes them.

The pedestrians were not hit by the train and only received some scratches - but the harrowing footage shows how close a call it was.

Translink released the video while announcing the top trespassing spots in Northern Ireland as a way of discouraging people from walking near train tracks. The top spots included Whiteabbey, Finaghy, Dunmurry and Antrim.

Some of the 304 incidents included a near miss involving a youth near Jordanstown, three youths playing 'chicken' on the tracks at Meetinghouse Lane, Dunmurry and young men taking a shortcut on the tracks at Bleach Green.

Mark Atkinson, Head of Civil Engineering at Translink, said even Usain Bolt could not outrun a train.

"There are obviously serious risks associated with trespassing on the rail network - life-changing injuries or even death," he said.

"Our trains travel at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour and if a driver has to apply the emergency brakes, it will take two thirds of a mile for the train to stop. In other words, not even the fastest athlete on the planet could outrun a train.

"During holiday periods, incidents of pedestrian trespass on the rail network unfortunately often increase. The network can look like a handy shortcut or a good place to play, but the risks are just not worth it," he said.

Translink said it is trying to cut trespassing by putting up fences, creating awareness and prosecuting cases when it can.

It is encouraging parents to lead by example and teach their children about the dangers.

"It's something we take really, really seriously. We're determined to reduce the number of trespasses," Mr Atkinson said.

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