Network Rail have teamed up with security experts Land Sheriffs to reduce incidents which can cause delays on the railway and bring better, more reliable services for South Western Railway passengers.

Land Sheriffs are working alongside Network Rail and the British Transport Police across the South Western Railway route, patrolling areas prone to incidents which can affect the operational railway, such as trespass, vandalism and deliberate level crossing misuse, with the aim of deterring and preventing incidents which can cause late-running trains and pose safety risks.

Incidents like this have caused almost 300,000 minutes of delays for passengers in the last year on the south western network alone.

Teams of Land Sheriffs are now on patrol in problem areas around Staines, Woking, Guildford and Waterloo. Since joining the route they have talked to more than 1,200 passengers so far offering safety advice, and have also helped prevent an attempted cable theft, which could have caused our infrastructure to fail and led to severe delays for passengers.

Jason Bridges, service delivery transformation director for Network Rail, said:

“Trespass, deliberate misuse of level crossings and vandalism on the railway are dangerous, illegal acts which cause big delays for our passengers.

“Our collaboration with Land Sheriffs is about improving train performance for our passengers by helping put a stop to this behaviour, as we continue to put passengers first in all we do.

“We hope this initiative will not only improve performance on the route, but also make our railway a safer place for everyone.”

Alessandro Finistrella, senior security manager for South Western Railway, said:

“Our customers know how disruptive trespass and vandalism can be to their journeys.

This initiative will help our customers get to their destinations on time and improve their travelling experience.”