Adult and two children in ‘near miss’ on Ballykelly rail line

A still released by Translink from footage from the incident at Downhill earlier this year.
A still released by Translink from footage from the incident at Downhill earlier this year.

Translink have issued a warning to the public about trespassing on railway lines after an adult and two children had “a near miss” at Ballykelly.

The incident occurred on Tuesday at around 1.30pm.

SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan.

SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan.

A Translink spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a near miss incident involving an adult and two children took place on the railway line at Ballykelly on Tuesday November 1 at around 13.10.

“The driver observed the members of the public holding onto the handrail on the bridge as the train passed.”

The spokesperson said trains operating on the line were instructed to operate at reduced speed until it was declared to be clear by the PSNI.

Translink have warned that as well as prosecution “there are obviously serious risks associated with trespassing on the rail network-life changing injuries or even death”.

“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 over 900 metres for the train to stop,” added the spokesperson.

SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan said he can’t understand why people continue to take such “foolish risks” around train lines.

Figures released in October from an Assembly question tabled by Mr Mullan showed more than 300 people have risked their lives by crossing the busy Derry to Belfast railway line over the past three years.

The figures released by Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard show that 341 pedestrians have trespassed on the line, including 85 people in the last year alone. In the year 2014/15 the total number was 127, with the highest figure of 129 recorded in 2013.

Just weeks ago Translink released shocking footage of a train narrowly missing two people who walked into a tunnel near Downhill Strand on the Belfast to Derry line.

The CCTV film from July 2015 shows a beach lifeguard waving to the train to warn the driver about the pedestrians. They escaped with minor scratches.

Mr Mullan said Tuesday’s incident, and the footage released by Translink, are a stark reminder of how “reckless it is to trespass on the rail lines”.

“It really is unbelievable that people take these risks, especially with children involved,” added Mr Mullan.