Shocking near miss on Derry rail line

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Shocking footage has emerged of two people who narrowly avoided being killed by a train inside the rail tunnel at Downhill.

The footage, captured as the train zoomed through the tunnel, was just one of almost 50 episodes of people trespassing onto the Derry rail line since the start of the summer, Translink have confirmed.

A still from the footage at Downhill.

A still from the footage at Downhill.

In the footage a lifeguard on duty in the area and who spotted two people coming off the beach and trespassing into the rail tunnel, is seen dressed in hi-vis clothing, frantically waving at the train driver to alert them to the danger.

When the train enters the tunnel the CCTV picks up the pedestrians on the left of the tunnel where they escaped being hit by the train and miraculously only received some scratches.

New figures released by Translink show that one in six trespass incidents across the north have occurred on the Derry train route, sparking a major new safety drive.

Other episodes across the north have included a near miss involving a youth near Jordanstown.

Since the beginning of summer this year there have been over 300 recorded incidents of pedestrian trespass across the rail network.

One of most disturbing involved a train driver having to make an emergency brake application when he saw three children sitting on the middle of the tracks. The children ran off but the driver was left extremely shaken.

Other shocking incidents include three youths playing chicken on the tracks at Meetinghouse Lane, Dunmurry and young males using the tracks as a shortcut at Bleach Green.

Mark Atkinson, Head of Civil Engineering at Translink said: “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. 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 added: “Aside from the very obvious risks to life and wellbeing associated with trespass, every time we receive reports of pedestrians on the rail network, we have to apply a ‘caution’ or speed restriction of 5 mph to trains operating in the area until we are assured that the area is clear. “This results in delays to services and impacts our passengers.

“We work closely with PSNI neighbourhood policing teams around Northern Ireland throughout the year to identify and prosecute trespassers.

“We would appeal to parents, guardians and teachers to remind young people in their care to never use the tracks as a shortcut or a playground.”

For more information on Translink’s safety activity go to www.translink.co.uk/railsafety.