Walkers in the area of Sleights, near Whitby in North Yorkshire, are being warned of the dangers of trespassing on the railway, following multiple incidents of people using the railway to cross the River Esk.
They are using a private road, where there is no public right of way, before reaching Thistle Grove Farm crossing. This is a private level crossing which is for authorised users only, who are given training on how to use it correctly.
People are putting their lives at risk by using the crossing, trespassing on the railway, and, then walking next to the track and over the railway bridge, which is known locally as Thistle Grove bridge. They are then using another private level crossing, Eskdale Gate No. 2, to reach a public footpath to Eskdaleside.
Network Rail is reminding people that, despite being recently upgraded, the railway bridge is not safe for members of the public to access. The improvements carried out to the bridge last month are to help engineers when they maintain the railway and to be used by trained railway workers only.
Those who use the bridge, as well as the private level crossings in the area, to get to the public footpath towards Eskdaleside, are trespassing on the railway. Signs have been put up in the area to warn people to stay away from the tracks. Network Rail has also installed two cameras to deter trespassers and record anyone who ignores the warning signs.
Hikers are strongly reminded that, not only is trespassing is illegal, it is also extremely dangerous and can have fatal or life changing consequences. Trains cannot stop quickly or swerve out of the way and the railways are in use 24 hours every day.
Network Rail community safety manager Dawn Sweeting said: “People who are illegally using the railway bridge, intentionally or not, as part of their walking route seem to be completely oblivious to the dangers that they are putting themselves or their loved ones in.
“The railway bridge is not a public footpath and it is not a shortcut over the River Esk between Thistle Grove and Eskdaleside. Those who use it are trespassing and there is no excuse.
“Trespassing on the railway is always dangerous and can have fatal or life changing consequences. You never know when the next train is coming, and everyone loses when you step on the tracks.”