Stop track trespass - don't take a short cut to death

19 April 2017

Iarnród Éireann has urged an end to track trespass, as the company revealed that train drivers had 32 “category 1” near misses in 2016 with trespassers, which required drivers to hit the brakes to avoid hitting a person.

Shock CCTV footage from one station alone – Kilbarrack – shows the recklessness involved. One trespasser in December 2016 avoided being killed by a split second, as the Dublin to Belfast Enterprise speeds through at 140 kilometres per hour.

Other clips from the busy DART station in a warning video issued today show trespassers crossing the track with bikes, and even a toddler being carried across in a stroller.

Any one of these trespass incidents at Kilbarrack, or any one of the 32 ‘category 1’ near misses around the network could have resulted in a tragic and needless death or catastrophic injuries. A parent carrying a stroller who falls and hurts themselves or their child leaves the driver of the train in an impossible situation – trains take considerable distances to come to a halt even at moderate speeds, and a train cannot swerve around a stricken trespasser.

Furthermore, modern tracks and trains are a lot more silent and customers may not be aware they are approaching – as can be seen from the extraordinary escape one trespasser had last December. Trespassers have been seen crossing with headphones meaning their awareness will be dramatically reduced.

Including the 32 category 1 incidents, Iarnród Éireann drivers reported over 200 trespass incidents during 2016. Rail bosses believe this is undoubtedly the tip of the iceberg however, and called on all station users not to take risks on the rail network.

This is more than just a warning to young people, and to their parents to ensure they know of the risks, though this is of course critically important. The footage from Kilbarrack – where we have installed platform end barriers to counteract the problem – shows trespassers are adults and children, and adults must show example and responsibility also.