Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore has requested meetings with both the British Transport Police and Network Rail to discuss the increase of trespassing on railway lines and to call on the authorities to do more to tackle this.
The move comes following further revelations of people trespassing on active railway lines, using the route as a short cut. The Keighley Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) line, which reopened on 17 April, is used by some as a walkway, oblivious to the dangers caused by walking on a railway line. Although the railway line has been closed to visitors prior to 17 April, the line was still used by the KWVR on a frequent basis.
Commenting Robbie Moore said: “It is frightening to see that people are continuing to walk on active railway lines despite the stark warnings which have already been given. Walking on railway lines is dangerous. Trains can’t stop quickly, neither can they swerve out of the way. There were 17 fatalities involved with trespassing on railway lines last year – 17 fatalities which could have been avoided.
“I am due to meet with both the British Transport Police and Network Rail to see what more can be done to deter people from trespassing on railway lines.
Commenting on the original incident on 6 April, Matt Stroh, Chairman of the Keighley Worth Valley Railway said: "Having trespassers on the railway line is incredibly scary. The fact that there is a child’s buggy makes it particularly sad and scary. It can be a fairly frequent occurrence. I've had people message when they spotted people wandering down the tracks.
"Some people just see it as a five-mile long footpath. They just don't understand risks. People have been aggressive when we've tried to move them on, so they're putting themselves at risk and our volunteers at risk (with their behaviour). We've had to close in early January because of lockdown rules, but we've had to run maintenance trains for our 150-year-old railway.
"We've also been running training days recently for our volunteers. We're coming back to life on April 17, so people using the railway as a thoroughfare is concerning. We're taking another step towards re-opening and there will be filming soon after that date, so the railway will be used intensely over the coming months.”