At a time when Network Rail is heavily promoting level crossing safety, and urging the public not to misuse them, a musician who posed for a PR photograph on railway tracks is urging others not to risk their lives by making the same mistake.
Chris Holden was photographed standing on the tracks of the Parlour Gates level crossing in the village of Oakley, near Basingstoke – a picture he used to publicise his first song as artist King Castle.
But it backfired when the picture received a backlash on social media for the singer’s poor choice of location.
Chris, 29, said: “I’m really embarrassed because I just didn’t think about the repercussions or how dangerous it is – it was a stupid thing to do and if I could go back in time, I would.
“I’ve grown up around here, so you just get so used to walking across the railway. I was out for a walk with a friend just taking pictures – it’s a path we walk all the time because it loops around our village.
“One of the shots looked like it was a posed one, and for once I didn’t look too bad in it, so I used it to promote my song without thinking how it could be perceived.
“After the backlash on social media, I thought to myself ‘what an idiot’.”
Chris is now warning others not to make the same mistake, especially after a recent string of incidents in which the railway was used for photographs, including a wedding, and even one woman who laid down on the tracks for a selfie.
Chris added: “I know people have been bored in lockdown and will be trying different things, but you need to be really careful on the railways. People are out exercising more, running or walking in the woods, so they may come across railway crossings that they’ve not seen before or like me, aren’t educated about.
“This has definitely opened my eyes and I realise how naïve I was about level crossings and how dangerous they actually are. I just hope people will read this, look after themselves and not be as silly as I was.”
Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex Route Director, said: “I can’t stress enough how much danger people are putting themselves in when they don’t use our crossings safely.
“Just one silly, split-second choice can have terrible consequences, not just for the people crossing, but their loved ones, train drivers, railway workers and police. So please, don’t take any chances.”
David Hurley is not alone in taking photographs on railway tracks. At least he was on a level crossing and so protected by the signalling system. A number of photo image libraries that Rail Insider uses contain ‘glamorous’ shots of models on live railways, which naturally encourage copycat behaviour.
Let Rail Insider add its voice to the debate. Trespassing on the railway is both ILLEGAL and EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. Don’t do it!