A couple has been reunited with their much-loved missing pet dog after a four-day search of the railway in Cheshire.

Rover, an 18-month-old Cocker Spaniel, went missing in Runcorn on 30 May causing his owners Alan and Laura a weekend of worry.

After receiving a report of the missing pup, Network Rail mobile operations manager Andy Smith went to look for him.

On Tuesday (2 June) Andy found Rover, but he escaped again before finally being brought to safety away from the railway line.

To help round up the poor pooch, Andy enlisted the help of Dave Ball, Network Rail off-track team leader, and railway maintenance workers from contractor EA Formby Ltd, who all immediately downed tools for the continued search.

The team eventually found run-away Rover on a railway embankment about two miles from where he had escaped. 

After 15 minutes of patiently waiting for the cautious canine to accept their help, the team managed to coax Rover to safety and he was returned to owners Alan and Laura after four days of hide and seek.

Dave Ball, off-track team leader at Network Rail, said: “Many of us in my team are dog lovers with pets of our own. Rover is a beautiful Cocker Spaniel and clearly well looked after, so we are so happy that he is reunited safely with his family. 

“It must have been really scary for Rover by the railway and we’re really glad to have got him safely away from danger and back home where he belongs.”

Owners Alan and Laura were overjoyed to be reunited with Rover. 

Alan said: “We are so grateful to the efforts of the team at Network Rail who rescued Rover. We’ve got our little family back together and we couldn’t be happier.”

Network Rail worked with local group ‘Bindi’s Lost and Found Pets’ in the search for the missing dog.

Donna Ryan, founder of Bindi’s Lost and Found Pets, said: “We had been looking for Rover for four days in the very hot weather. I am very happy he was returned to Alan and Laura. We are very grateful to Network Rail and the Runcorn community for their work to find him.” 

Because the railway is very dangerous, anyone who sees a dog on the track is advised to ring the Network Rail helpline on 03457 11 41 41 so our specially trained staff can help.

Please never venture onto railway lines to look for an animal yourself as there are many hidden dangers on the tracks and the consequences could be fatal.