Train enthusiasts warned to stay off the tracks ahead of Flying Scotsman visit to Thames Valley

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James Preston

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Train enthusiasts warned to stay off the tracks ahead of Flying Scotsman visit to Thames Valley

Credit: Network Rail

Originally posted on Wednesday, May 18.

Train enthusiasts have been warned to stay off the tracks when the Flying Scotsman comes to the Thames Valley this weekend.

The iconic train is set to embark on return trips from London Paddington to Reading and Salisbury this Saturday and on Saturday, May 28.

It is touring the country following a 10-year, £4.2m refurbishment by the National Railway Museum in February but its inaugural journey from King’s Cross to York was marred by several incidents of trespass by excited fans.

Photos shared online showed 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 engine.

Trainspotters hoping to catch a glimpse of the Scotsman as it passes through the Thames Valley have also been warned of the added risk of electrocution if they stray onto the tracks.

Mark Langman, Network Rail’s managing director for the Western route, said: “I’m sure the enthusiasm and passion that has been shown elsewhere in the country for this historic train will be replicated when it travels along Brunel’s railway. While it’s great to see this support for steam engines, and the railway itself, the images of people stood on the railway taking photographs were deeply concerning.

“As well as being illegal, I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to go onto the railway without any formal training and without permission. I am urging those who plan to enjoy seeing Flying Scotsman in the coming days to do so from a safe position and to not go onto the railway under any circumstances. I’d like to thank those who have observed safe practices during the Scotsman’s runs so far and ask others to follow that example.”

Chief inspector David Oram from the British Transport Police said: “We understand people are excited about seeing the Flying Scotsman’s return and want them to have a great day out.

“Our priority is the safety of the public and passengers viewing and travelling on the train. The railway is a hazardous environment and we would urge people to use safe vantage points to view and take pictures of the train, stay clear of the line and not be tempted to risk their lives and the lives of others by trespassing on the tracks.

“To ensure the safety of those wanting to see the Flying Scotsman we have been in extensive planning discussions with the rail industry. Our aim is that members of the public are able to enjoy these great events by understanding the dangers, being responsible, staying within the law and most importantly - keeping safe.

“Trespassing on the tracks to view the service is not only extremely dangerous and can result 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 £1,000 and a criminal record. Where people are found to be trespassing, we will take proportionate and necessary action against them.”

Earlier this month, Network Rail said it would not be issuing timings for Flying Scotsman journeys to avoid overcrowding.

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