Fans of the famous Flying Scotsman are being urged to keep off the tracks when the recently renovated locomotive starts its tour of the North York Moors this weekend.
Flying Scotsman returned to the East Coast Main Line after a 10-year, £4.2million refurbishment by the National Railway Museum last month with an inaugural journey from London King’s Cross to York which was greeted by thousands of people lining the route.
However, the day was marred by several dangerous incidents of trespass – where members of the public were seen walking along the tracks and taking photographs of the Flying Scotsman while other trains continued to pass on opposing lines.
Photographs shared online show crowds of people, including young children, stood in the path of oncoming trains with their view obscured by plumes of steam and smoke from the Flying Scotsman.
All trains on the East Coast Main Line had to be stopped as a result, causing a combined total of over 8 hours of delays (516 minutes) to 59 train services, costing the railway almost £60,000 in compensation.
On Saturday (12 March) the Scotsman starts an eight day tour of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway at Grosmont, with Network Rail, British Transport Police and the NYMR warning those who are planning a visit to see the Scotsman about the dangers of straying onto the tracks.
Emrys Warriner, head of route safety and environment at Network Rail, said: “While the turnout to see the Flying Scotsman showed the passion and support for steam engines, and indeed the railway itself, the images of people stood on the railway taking photographs were deeply worrying.
“I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to go onto the railway without permission, as well as being illegal. I am urging those who plan to enjoy a day out in North Yorkshire in the coming days to do so from a safe position and not to go onto the railway under any circumstances. I’d like to thank those who stayed safe during the inaugural Scotsman run and ask others to follow that example.”
Inspector Bob Moody of British Transport Police said: “We understand people are excited about seeing the Flying Scotsman’s return, but the railway is a hazardous environment and trespassers endanger their safety and that of others.
“There are lots of safe vantage points to view and take pictures of the train and we would urge people to use those, stay clear of the line and not be tempted to risk their lives and the lives of others by trespassing on the railway.
“The behaviour of some people during the Flying Scotsman’s inaugural journey from London to York last week was simply not acceptable. Large numbers of people trespassed on the tracks to view the service, which is not only extremely dangerous and resulted in the train’s journey being delayed, but it is an offence for which the offender risks being brought before the courts, a fine of £1000 and a criminal record. We will be seeking to take action against trespassers on future journeys to ensure that these pass safely and free from disruption.”
Chris Price, General Manager of NYMR comments: “As a charity that’s operated and run by volunteers and train enthusiasts alike, we completely understand the excitement surrounding the arrival of Flying Scotsman. However, we really do stress the importance of keeping this in check and taking photos or watching the steam engine from a safe distance and location.”