South of Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth is urging people to stay safe and stay off the region’s railway tracks during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Network Rail Scotland has said that while most people are staying home and social distancing, Scotland’s railway is still seeing trespass and vandalism on the tracks.

Over 50 trespass incidents were recorded since March 20, when Scotland’s schools closed ahead of the full lockdown on March 23.

In recent weeks trespassers have been spotted on rail lines across the country. These include an incident on Easter Sunday when a train was forced to carry out an emergency brake after spotting three trespassers on the line near Annan.

On March 21, a teenage trespasser delayed trains near Mauchline on March 21.

Colin Smyth said: “While the vast majority of people are adhering to government advice and staying home during the Covid-19 pandemic, there are clearly some who think the rules do not apply to them.

“Trespassing on our nation’s rail network is completely unacceptable and it risks serious injury or death to those trespassing, while also putting our hardworking train drivers, train staff and also passengers at risk of injury.

“As the nights get lighter and the weather improves, I am urging people to stay at home and stay off railway tracks. It is not worth the risk.

“The public can also help to keep the railway safe by contacting Network Rail’s 24-hour helpline on 03457 114141 to report any locations where trespassers are gaining access to the tracks.”

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