A disturbing “train surfing” trend means people are dicing with death to avoid paying fares or gain notoriety on social media, local train operator Greater Anglia warns.
The operator, which runs services throughout the region, has just launched an awareness campaign to coincide with the school holidays, following a spate of train surfing incidents.
People have been putting their lives at risk by holding onto the outside of the train and hitching a ride between stations. Train surfers risk being maimed or killed, Greater Anglia warns.
And as the school holidays approach, Greater Anglia is reminding people to be vigilant and take care when travelling by train.
Paul Herbert, a train driver for 15 years, said: “I have seen people train surf on the Greater Anglia network.
“I have seen children climb between two trains that are joined together and travel at 80mph on bumpy track – at any point they could have fallen off and they would have died. All it takes is for them to slip, or one sudden movement, and they would be dead.
“If someone fell on the tracks and managed to avoid the train wheels, they would still be very badly injured or even crushed to death by the underneath of the train.”
Some people train surf while filming themselves, and upload the footage to YouTube.
All incidents of train surfing on the Greater Anglia network are reported to British Transport Police, and if children’s uniforms can be identified, the relevant schools are also notified.
Richard Tew, Network Rail’s head of route safety for Anglia, said: “Train surfing or trespassing on the railway is incredibly dangerous and anyone who does this risks serious injury or death.
“Hanging on to a train or accessing the track really isn’t worth it, whether it’s for thrill seeking, to take a short cut or to avoid paying the fare.
“The consequences will be devastating for everyone involved, so just don’t take the risk.”