VIDEO: Dramatic footage shows near misses with high-speed trains as trespass incidents hit five-year high in Sheffield

A train approaches a person on the tracks.
A train approaches a person on the tracks.

The number of people risking their lives on rail lines in Sheffield has hit a five-year high.

There were nearly 200 reported incidents of people risking their lives to cross illegally on rail lines in and around the city last year. And across Yorkshire and the Humber that figure is 931.

The figures were released jointly by Network Rail and British Transport Police along with shocking video showing people involved in near misses with high-speed trains.

They have now launched a 'Tackling Track Safety' programme which will see community safety managers and police officers educate thousands of school children across South Yorkshire about the dangers of trespassing.

Allan Spence, Network Rail’s head of public and passenger safety, said: “Every April we see a huge rise in the number of people taking a risk on the rail network and it’s worrying that these numbers seem to be going up.

“Britain has the safest railway in Europe but still too many people lose their lives on the tracks.

People on the train tracks.

People on the train tracks.

“The dangers may not always be obvious but the electricity on the railway is always on and trains can travel up to 125mph, so even if they see you, they can’t stop in time.”

Last year, there were 8, 265 such incidents which is the highest amount since current records began in 2007. This equates to a person encroaching on the tracks once every hour in Britain.

Some 115 offenders have been killed nationally over the past five years, with just under half younger than 25.

Simon Munn, a wheelchair basketball player who represented Britain at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, lost his leg in a railway accident when he was 22.

He was walking home from a pub and trespassed on the railway to avoid taking an extra five minutes to reach a crossing.

He said: “As I crossed the track I got my foot caught. I don’t know how long I was there, but I heard the train coming. I couldn’t move. Trains moving that fast can’t stop in time to miss you and they can’t swerve. It’s too late by then.

“Now I really know what the cost of trespassing and taking short cuts can be.”