North West Wales

Facebook photos trap Gwynedd rail trespassers

Three men were fined after posting Facebook pictures of themselves walking on a railway line in Gwynedd, a report has revealed.

They had been making their way home after one was removed for "disorderly" behaviour from a train in Llwyngwril.

Cambrian Coast Railway liaison committee chairman Trefor Roberts called their actions "idiotic".

A full British Transport Police (BTP) report on rail incidents will go before the liaison committee on Friday.

"The following morning, probably nursing a serious hangover, one of the group posted the photos of their night out on Facebook," said Pc Rob Newman, from the BTP.

"This included photos of them walking down the track, at each station on route, and over the bridge," he added.

Despite "early denials" Pc Newman said the three had "admitted their stupidity when presented with the photographic evidence". They were given fixed penalty fines.

Otherwise on the railway, the BTP noted "significant" changes in the pattern of people jumping the level crossing lights.

"Since April 2010 there have been 19 prosecutions for failure to comply (jumping the level crossing lights) with over 60% of these taking place at Barmouth and Talwrn Bach at Llanbedr," said Pc Newman.

All the offenders at Talwrn Bach have been from outside the area, travelling to or from a nearby camp site, whilst at Barmouth they have all been local people, he said.

Image caption Fishermen are allowed to use only one side of the bridge at Barmouth

Serious accident

"It would appear that there is a tendency for regular users to 'nip across' as the barriers are lowering," he added.

Incidents at other level crossings in the area have decreased, however.

Elsewhere, trespass and some vandalism was reported, but an "emerging problem" was people fishing from Barmouth Bridge.

"Anglers are permitted to fish from the pedestrian footpath on the bridge," said Pc Newman.

"But some have taken it upon themselves, as the tide is going out, to fish from the railway side of the bridge, to avoid their fishing lines getting tangled up in the bridge structure," he added.

Railway watchdog chairman Trefor Roberts said he was grateful to the police for catching the "total idiots" who were walking along the railway line.

"It's only a couple of years ago that there was a very serious accident here and these were local people, so they know the dangers," he said.

On the fishing from the railway bridge Mr Roberts said there was the same problem about 10 years ago, and it was very dangerous.

"There's only about 18 inches between where the train is and the edge into the water, so someone could easily slip when the train comes along, and hoots, and they have to get off quickly," he added.

Level crossing jumpers were also a cause for concern, he said.

The Cambrian Coast Railway liaison conference will meet at Y Ganolfan, Porthmadog, on Friday at 1330 GMT.

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