/ Illegal to cross rail tracks

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Euge - on 08 Jan 2013
Listening to Radio Scotland and it is now illegal to cross rail tracks!!
This includes the crossing at the Drummochtar Hills where the path goes to the rail tracks and continues on the other side!!!

Guy from the the transport police says that walkers will have to replan their routes if a rail track is in the way!

WTF!!!

E
matthewtraver - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge:

Crazy. Nobody there to enforce the law though!
rif on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge:
I didn't hear the item, but hasn't walking along/across the tracks always been illegal?
For the W Drumochtar hills, I've always parked at NN632756 and used the underpass at NN633750; this is only a few hundred metres/yards of extra distance.
IainFP on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge:
> Listening to Radio Scotland and it is now illegal to cross rail tracks!!
> This includes the crossing at the Drummochtar Hills where the path goes to the rail tracks and continues on the other side!!!
>
> Guy from the the transport police says that walkers will have to replan their routes if a rail track is in the way!
>
> WTF!!!
>

WTF? It is a criminal offence to trespass on the railway. This is not something new, what advice do you expect BTP to give? Fatalities occur every year, not only is it tragic for the casualties family etc, but also for the driver and those that have to deal with the aftermath.

In many area's it is virtually impossible to police. Largely personal choice, however, if you are going to do it be very, very careful.

EeeByGum - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to IainFP:

> WTF? It is a criminal offence to trespass on the railway. This is not something new, what advice do you expect BTP to give?

So how does that square with the crossings that have been used by walkers for years?
Andrew.Davies - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge: What if you jump over them?
Fat Bumbly2 - on 08 Jan 2013
This is the old "Authorised Users" only thing resurfacing again - ie accommodation level crossings. Remember Network Fail wasting all that money on those blue signs, often on rights of way like at Dalwhinnie? I take that to mean that the level crossing is only for the use of folk who are authorised to be on the land on the other side - which is at most times all of us. Last time they put up a spokesman who insisted that you could not go onto private property in Scotland (NB this is the land beyond the railway, not the railway itself), and did not understand that that nonsense stopped at Berwick.

It is important to distinguish between trespass on a railway and the use of an accommodation crossing. The former has always been a no no. If they are pushing for greater restrictions on level crossing use then they are a threat!

This needs to be taken seriously as I can easily see some petty wee clipboard organising a raid on Drumochter one fine Saturday morning. They know where the hills are.


In case things get really heavy - there are often sheep creeps and other ways under or over the tracks. Not sure about the Highland Railway at Drumochter (Can they do you for using the RoW down Loch Garry?) but the West Highland Railway and Kyle Line are well provided for, and I recently made good use of a low tunnel under the Kyle Line to get onto Moruisg.
RCC - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge:

Do you have a source for this? Was it on GMS? The network rail website still lists footpath crossings as a legitimate type of level crossing.
In reply to Euge: I've just spoken to a transport police spokesman. There's been no change; it's always been forbidden to randomly cross the line at will but official footpath/track crossing points are fine. It sounds like a bit of a non-story.
Fat Bumbly2 - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com: Hope so... things got pretty heated around 2004 in Scotland when there was an attempt made to close all the crossings.
Jim C - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge:
Seems strange , if there is a 'crossing' it seems illogical to them make it illegal to use it.

I can well understand just crossing a line, outwith a marked crossing, there is going to be a lot of confusion over this , if what you have heard is true.
drmarten on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge:
Just ignore the noises that come from that direction every so often. They will be happy they've raised the issue and we can nod and continue as before.
Simon Caldwell - on 08 Jan 2013
Neil Williams - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to jonnie3430:

Not sure I'd want to feature in a photo like that if the Police are taking a genuine interest...

Neil
jonnie3430 - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

It was more for amusement than taking seriously. Down now. Happy?
Neil Williams - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to jonnie3430:

Chill... I was being light hearted as well to an extent, doesn't always come across on Web forums, that's the trouble :)

But quite genuinely - I have heard of BTP prosecuting people from photos of that nature.

Neil
Toby S - on 08 Jan 2013
aln - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to IainFP)
>
> [...]
>
> So how does that square with the crossings that have been used by walkers for years?

Same as always. If you use yours eyes and brains to cross a railway track in the middle of nowhere and don't get hit by a train then you'll be OK.

Neil Williams - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to aln:

The article on the MCoS site is interesting - I wonder why the BTP were specifically there rather than on any of the other load of crossings in rural Scotland?

Neil
aln - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams: Dunno. I didn't read that and don't intend to.
andreadawn on 08 Jan 2013
Please stick to official crossing points. As has been said, proper footpath crossings are fine. Trespassing elsewhere on the railway is a criminal offence.

If you really must insist on ignoring the law and wandering about on the line, do at least keep a good look out. Train drivers can not take avoiding action. So many of the trespassers I have nearly run down over the years don't seem to have grasped the concept that a train may come along. I've been lucky enough to have avoided killing any people in my twenty years as a driver but have had plenty of heart stopping near misses on the rural routes I work in Cumbria. Killing medium sized mammals such as roe deer (a fairly regular occurance) is unpleasant enough. I'd rather not find out what it's like to kill people.

Andrea Collins

Fat Bumbly2 - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge:Good question - if the blighters are lying in wait for returnees that could be awkward.

This has all the makings of an awareness campaign. Next step will be a presence at one of the usual hill crossings (there are actually very few such places, so they can focus). It may be Saturday or a bit later, but the Transport Police will probably be at Lochay or Drumochter soon. Worth having a good look around before setting off - even if using the crossings, which you will be doing to get to the Drumochter ridge.

The big worry is the accommodation crossings. The situation with these is uncertain, and if they go for these then we have a problem. I saw an article in today's Scotsman where a few problem areas were mentioned. One was Loch Awe. Now that is probably a reference to Kilchurn Castle which was one of the big hotspots during the attempt in 2004 to close all crossings.
Dave Hewitt - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Fat Bumbly2:
> It may be Saturday or a bit later, but the Transport Police will probably be at Lochay or Drumochter soon.

Someone was nabbed – and charged, I think – while crossing the line north of Ben Lui just two or three months ago, so there are people looking out for this. Re crossing lines versus walking along or right beside them, on occasion I’ve done the former but the latter just seems bonkers. There have been accidents of that sort, with trains – particularly the modern quiet ones – sneaking up behind walkers who don’t hear them because of wind / rain / hood up. A president of the SMC died this way on Rannoch Moor I believe. A good friend of mine – who thankfully survived shaken but unscathed – once had to dive sideways into the heather at the last gasp on the same stretch.

I guess I’m always likely to be a non-walker along lines due to being the son of a railwayman – it was drummed into me at an early age. Mind you, one of my most lingering and memorable childhood experiences was walking the half-mile length of Milford tunnel near Duffield. But the line was completely closed for the day and my dad was the local track inspector…
Euge - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Toreador:

That's the example that was brought up and discussed...

E
Euge - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to RCC:
> (In reply to Euge)
>
> Do you have a source for this? Was it on GMS? The network rail website still lists footpath crossings as a legitimate type of level crossing.

It was on Radio Scotland!

E
stewieatb on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge:
> (In reply to RCC)
> [...]
>
> It was on Radio Scotland!
>
> E

Sometimes people come on the radio and say things which aren't true. It's called ly-ing. It's a vital part of pol-it-icks.
RCC - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge:

Thanks, but I got that bit. I was just wondering which programme (i.e. was it good morning Scotland). I thought I could listen to the relevant bit on the iplayer if I knew roughly when it was.
Euge - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to RCC:
> (In reply to Euge)
>
> Thanks, but I got that bit. I was just wondering which programme (i.e. was it good morning Scotland). I thought I could listen to the relevant bit on the iplayer if I knew roughly when it was.

Oh Sorry...
Whichever show is on at 8am... I flick between Radio 4 and Radio Scotland...

Cheers
E
RCC - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge:

Thanks.

Programme is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01pdx7w/Good_Morning_Scotland_08_01_2013/

From about 2.20.00 onwards.
chris_s - on 10 Jan 2013
Does anyone know what legislation makes it an offence to trespass on a railway in Scotland? And has it ever been tested in a Scottish court?
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Howard J - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to chris_s: There are lots of laws relating to railways, and I believe trespass on the railway has been a criminal offence in Scotland since 1840. For a start there's Section 55 of the British Transport Commission Act 1949, which applies to Scotland. Section 6(d) of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 specifically excludes land "to which public access is, by or under any enactment other than this Act, prohibited, excluded or restricted"
jjmacewan - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Howard J:

The laws relating to railway crossing (in Scotland and the rest of the UK) have been getting a review over the last few years.

"There are between 7500 and 8000 level crossings in Great Britain. The current law on crossings is complex, outdated and difficult to access.

The project engages a wide range of areas of the law: railways, highways, health and safety, land, planning, crime, and disability discrimination. The aim is to make recommendations with a view to reforming the framework so that it is more coherent, accessible and up-to-date, allowing for better regulation and, potentially, the reduction of risk."

Recommendations and draft Bill should be appearing soon:

http://www.scotlawcom.gov.uk/law-reform-projects/joint-projects/level-crossings/
In reply to Euge: See UKH here for the latest from both BTP and Ramblers Scotland (they disagree, in a nutshell): http://www.ukhillwalking.com/news/item.php?id=67734
Euge - on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:
> (In reply to Euge) See UKH here for the latest from both BTP and Ramblers Scotland (they disagree, in a nutshell): http://www.ukhillwalking.com/news/item.php?id=67734

Thanks for that Dan...

E
Howard J - on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to Euge: Section 23 Regulation of the Railways Act 1868 permits crossing the track at an "authorised point", but it is unclear what this means. Where the public has access rights under the 2003 Act to the land on either side, could it be argued that they also have rights over a private railway crossing? However that wouldn't cover the situation where you want to cross a line where there is no crossing.

The CPS guidance on prosecutions in England and Wales advises prosecutors:

I"n assessing the public interest in taking criminal proceedings the circumstances of each case should be considered carefully. In particular:

the age of the offender
the risk of injury to himself or others
the likelihood of disruption to rail services.

Those factors should be weighed together with the broader public interest factors set out above."

Of course this does not apply in Scotland but the procurator fiscal may take a similar view
captain paranoia - on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

"British Transport Police records thousands of incidents of trespassing every year and many people have been seriously injured, or even killed. The resulting effect on families, train drivers and passengers can be devastating."

Many people? I might like to see the statistics for people hit by trains on rural Scottish lines.

Trespassing along the line is stupid. Crossing the line should be little different to crossing the road, probably even safer, due to the low volume of traffic. The additional risk of trips on track fixtures needs to be taken into consideration.

Just use your brain and check the line is clear before you cross, and cross the track smartly and carefully, would be my advice.

I wonder if this stance has anything to do with this:

http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.11045

I am reminded of the recent programme about cyclists on the roads, and the cement company that killed one cyclist a year. I don't think they were hit with the same sort of fine. In fact, I don't think they suffered any penalty at all, and it was only one mother's efforts that made them take action.

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