Cookies and We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive them.
You can read more about how we use cookies, and turn them off, on this page.

  • Trespassing and vandalism

    Every year, people are killed and injured because they are trespassing, or vandalising the railway

  • Trespass

    Only certain parts of the railway are open to members of the public. Of course, you can go on the stations, platforms and safe crossing places: underpasses, public bridges, level crossings and public foot crossings, but you will be trespassing if you go on to the railway tracks, embankments or any other area – for any reason at any time.

    The only exception is if you are told to go on the tracks by railway staff or the emergency services (for example if your train breaks down and you need to walk along the tracks to the nearest station).

    You are trespassing on the railway and putting your life in danger if you:

    • Take a short cut across the train tracks
    • Jump off the platform to pick up your newspaper or a dropped shoe
    • Chase after your cat or dog when they go on the tracks


    Vandalism is deliberate damage to railway property. Common types include graffiti, litter, flytipping and breaking and damaging railway property (such as fences, bridges, signs and tracks).

    Who's responsible?

    Much of the trespassing and vandalism is done by boys aged 8-16 years, but children as young as five years old have been found playing on the tracks.

    The other big group of trespassers are adults who use the railway as a shortcut.


    Trespassing and vandalising on the railway is a criminal offence which carries a fine of up to £1,000. Graffiti is also a serious crime which can result in a prison sentence.


    We work hard to tell young people about the dangers of trespass and vandalism. We have two websites specifically about railway crime - the Rail Life website for young people and the Trackoff website for teachers and parents. We also run and support a lot of community activities, including school visits, safety centres, diversionary activities and communications programmes. In areas with lots of trespassing and vandalism, we will replace existing fences with more secure fences to make it more difficult to access the railway.  

    Reporting trespass or vandalism

    If you see someone on the railway tracks, please call the British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or dial 999.

    More information

    Contact us

    If you have a problem caused by trespass and vandalism or any other part of the railway or if you simply want more information, please contact the National Helpline on 08457 11 41 41.

  • Contact us

    If you have a concern or question, call our 24-hour helpline:

    08457 11 41 41

    or contact us online