A teenager has been caught lying in the middle of a railway line while using her phone, despite the risk of being hit by a train travelling at 85mph.
The girl and her friend were caught on CCTV in the latest example of reckless behaviour on the country’s railway crossings.
Bosses have noticed a steep increase in incidents over the last year with wedding parties stopping to take pictures and walkers using the tracks as a shortcut.
The latest image – captured at a level crossing near Horsham in West Sussex last month – has prompted Network Rail to appeal to people to stay away from railways.
Other pictures released show two boys walking down the tracks at Bewbush, near Crawley.
Figures released in March showed there was a 40% increase in youth trespass incidents in south-east London, Surrey and Sussex after the region emerged from the first national lockdown.
Network Rail head of route quality, health, safety and environment Vincent van der Hoeven said: ‘We really must get the message across to children and their parents the dangers of trespassing on the track.
‘We are putting efforts into getting the message across in schools and on social media through our Parallel Lines film and You vs Train campaign.’
Nicola Dooris, community safety manager on the South East route, said they are able to identify and track down people breaking the rules.
‘Unfortunately, during lockdown we have seen an increase in the numbers of young people messing about on the railway,’ she added.
‘On that section of track, trains often travel at 85mph and, at that speed, unlike cars, trains can take hundreds of metres to stop – a fact many young people don’t realise.
‘Using CCTV like this, I’m often able to track down young people and talk to them, and I’d much rather do that than help our staff cope with the aftermath of young people being killed.’
The children, whose identities have been disguised in the CCTV pictures, have been spoken to by transport police officers, Network Rail said.
In January, a woman was seen lying down on the railway tracks at a crossing in Sussex while her friend took a picture.
Meanwhile, last autumn Network Rail said incidents of trespass had reached a five year high as they released images of newlyweds stopping on the tracks for a picture on their wedding day.
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