Network Rail Scotland is urging the public to stay safe and stay off the railway during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Despite most people observing the government’s guidelines on staying home and social distancing, Scotland’s Railway is still seeing trespass and vandalism on the tracks.

Over 50 trespass incidents have been recorded on Scotland’s Railway since March 20, when Scotland’s schools closed ahead of the full lockdown on March 23.

In recent weeks trespassers have been spotted on rail lines across the country including locations in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Perthshire and the Lothians:

  • On April 15 four teenagers crossed the line in front of a train near Drumgelloch while a train was forced to brake after two men trespassed on the line in Paisley on April 14.
  • On Easter Sunday, April 12, teenagers were spotted on the line near Paisley St James station and a train was forced to carry out an emergency brake after spotting three trespassers on the line near Annan.
  • On April 7, two teenagers were seen walking on the line near Bowling and a teenage trespasser was on the line near Bearsden on April 5.
  • Two youths were spotted attempting to graffiti trains in the north east of Glasgow on April 3 and on March 31 a female trespasser was on the line near Barrhead station.
  • On March 29 a male trespasser caused disruption to trains near Dunbar on the East Coast Mainline and two adults and a child were seen trespassing near Culloden on March 27.
  • Two trespassers were also seen near Bathgate on March 25 and a teenage trespasser delayed trains near Mauchline on March 21.

With trespass incidents often also increasing during the lighter spring nights and school holidays, Network Rail is urging the public to keep off the tracks.

 Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “During the lockdown keeping your distance doesn’t just mean from other people – it means from the tracks too.

“Trespassing on the railway can be a fatal mistake. Trains take a long time to stop and anyone struck by one will suffer life-changing injuries or worse.

“The railway is also full of hidden dangers – like overhead power lines which can carry up to 25,000 volts and kill instantly.

“We’re urging the public to stay safe and off the railway – allowing us to focus on supporting the country through this crisis by keeping key workers and vital freight services on the move.”

Network Rail works closely with the British Transport Police to keep Scotland’s Railway secure and trespassers and vandals will be prosecuted.

 The public can also help to keep the railway safe by contacting Network Rail’s 24-hour helpline on 03457 114141 to report any locations where trespassers are gaining access to the tracks.

 To find out more about the dangers of railway trespass, visit www.youvstrain.co.uk, the campaign led by Network Rail and the wider rail industry to address the issue of trespass on the railway.