Network Rail today issued a safety plea after a tree was recklessly felled directly onto a station platform and the railway, inches away from 25,000-volt overhead power lines.

Pictures show the large bough of the tree which crashed down onto Roby station on Merseyside, blocking the platform and tracks.

The branches were left abandoned by the cowboy contractors earlier this month, causing disruption to trains while the railway was closed for the debris to be safely cleared.

Had the sections of tree come into contact with the overhead electrified lines they could have caught fire, causing significant damage and risk to the public.

Andy Lovett, senior asset engineer for Network Rail, said: “One of our trackside neighbours’ tree contractors allowed a big section of tree to fall right where train passengers stand.

“Someone could have been seriously hurt or worse. This reckless act also delayed trains while we cleared the tree off the tracks.

“We would encourage our trackside neighbours to manage their trees so they don’t become a risk to them or the railway.

“But we urge them not to fell trees of this size without seeking professional advice from qualified tree surgeons, ideally those registered with the Arboricultural Association.

“And please let us, Network Rail, know via our National Helpline, so we can advise a safe way to do the job.”

Specialist Network Rail teams and tree surgeons manage a total of 6.3 million trees along 16,000 miles of railway in England and Wales.

For more advice on this, or to report anything which could be unsafe, contact our National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41.