Oxford

Steam train driver takes photo of boy on tracks

Boy on tracks Image copyright Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway
Image caption Phil Marsh photographed the boy from the driver's cab of his steam train

A steam train driver had to stop his locomotive to make sure it did not hit a boy playing on the railway line.

Phil Marsh took a photo of the youngster on the tracks in Chinnor, Oxfordshire. A woman can been seen standing nearby talking on a phone.

Mr Marsh, who has worked on the railways for 46 years, said he took the picture to highlight the dangers of trespassing on tracks.

He said it was "happening more and more" in the area.

"It's very dangerous," he said. "A young lad [was] putting a stone on the railway line."

Mr Marsh said the train was moving slowly enough to stop in time, but added a 200-ton steam train travelling at a maximum speed of 25mph would usually take "at least 100 metres to stop".

He said trespassing on the heritage rail line between Chinnor in Oxfordshire and Princes Risborough in Buckinghamshire was "very prevalent".

People stand "in between the rails, videoing or photographing the approaching train and simply expect you to be able to stop".

Image caption The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway is operated by volunteers

An interchange on the heritage line at Princes Risborough was opened in August 2018, allowing passengers to take a steam train from Chinnor to connect with mainline services to London.

The line had last offered a passenger service in August 1957.

On Saturday, Mr Marsh said a drunk man was found on the tracks by a volunteer moments before a "murder mystery" train was due to pass through.

A survey of 1,000 teenagers across the UK carried out on behalf of Network Rail showed 18% of them did not know walking along railway tracks was illegal.

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