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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Eskmeals Viaduct walkers force train to make emergency stop

A GROUP of walkers has been blasted for causing a train to slam on its emergency brake while crossing a viaduct.

Network Rail said the incident happened when a group of between eight and 10 people were spotted walking on the Eskmeals Viaduct – which is illegal.

The driver of the 13.31 Barrow to Carlisle Northern Rail service was forced to bring the train to an emergency standstill, before the trespassers left the scene.

A Network Rail spokesman branded the group’s actions as “dangerous”.

He said: “There were approximately eight to 10 members of the public on the viaduct; we believe they were two families.

“The driver of the train brought the train to an emergency stop so he didn’t hit anybody.

“The train crew say they saw the trespassers leave the viaduct, get in to their cars and drive off.

“They appear to have been just strolling across the viaduct.

“This is both illegal and dangerous. It is trespassing on private property, which carries a fine of up to £1,000.

“There is also the stupidity of walking on a live railway line when trains can come along at any moment.

“Clearly, if the driver hadn’t applied the brakes in an emergency situation, we could have been looking at injuries, even fatalities.

“The people were putting themselves in extreme danger.

“If there were any children in among the group, what an appalling example the adults are setting for their future life: teaching them trespassing and walking on the railway line is an acceptable thing to do.”

The incident, which happened last Monday afternoon, has sparked calls for a pedestrian footbridge to be installed across the viaduct. Mark Holroyd, South Copeland Tourism development officer, said: “The incident which has occurred raises the need for improved pedestrian and cycle access across the Esk.

“We have long said a cantilevered structure onto the existing railway bridge would be ideal.

“Not only would this improve safety, but open up South Copeland – particularly Waberthwaite and Bootle – to cycling for visitors from Ravenglass.”

But the Network Rail spokesman said: “We are not funded to provide public footbridges across river estuaries.”

A Northern Rail spokeswoman confirmed the incident, adding: “Our drivers undergo rigorous training for situations such as this and use their expertise and knowledge to ensure the safety of our passengers.

“When the route was clear, the service continued on to Carlisle, with a slight delay of 16 minutes.”

Have your say

Those folk walking over the viaduct should have tried it when there was a steam special about to cross the viaduct. Brakes on steam engines are about only 40% efficient as a railcar so they would have ended up in West Cumberland Hospital if not the coroners slab! Folk like that deserve to be injoured when trestpassing and prosecuted under the Health and safety at Work Act for endangering life - their own!

Posted by Joe Brown on 12 June 2012 at 13:18

this is not a rare incident - some tourist seem to leave their brains and manners at home when visiting this area - as a local i see peoples private property crossed, gates left open, bad manners displayed if you dare use your own PRIVATE road to get home, there are plenty of maps that show people where to go they just assume they can go where they want

Posted by on 12 June 2012 at 11:02

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