Network Rail and the British Transport Police have warned drone pilots to keep away from the railway or risk being taken to court and facing a £2,500 penalty following an incident in Surrey earlier this month.  

Network Rail are working with the British Transport Police to investigate footage posted online in which a drone appears to fly dangerously close to the railway between Farnborough and Woking as the Flying Scotsman passed through on April 12.

Helen Yorke, route crime manager for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said:

“This was a very concerning incident which put the safety of passengers, railway staff and members of the public at risk.

“Network Rail has a team of pilots and specialist approved contractors who are the only people permitted to fly drones near the railway. We do this as inspecting the railway by air is both effective and efficient reducing disruption to train services or the need for workers to go trackside.

Inspector Andy Jackson from the British Transport Police said:

“First and foremost, flying a drone near to the railway can be extremely dangerous. It is a criminal offence to fly a drone on, over or within 50 metres of the railway and it is important that any would-be drone pilots are aware of this.

“These strict guidelines, put in place by the Civil Aviation Authority, are there to ensure the safety of those who are using the railway, including passengers, rail staff and the pilots of the drones.

“British Transport Police will always conduct vigorous investigations where we have evidence that drones are being flown illegally near the railway.”

If you witness what you believe to be dangerous use of a drone, please call 101 stating the location and time, and capture any evidence you can of the offence.

Network Rail welcomes rail enthusiasts who want to film or take photos at our stations safely. Guidance designed to help you have a safe and enjoyable experience can be found here: