PEOPLE are dicing with death on the Airedale railway line.

Incidents of trespass have soared since the start of lockdown, rail bosses have revealed.

There have been eight reports of trespassing along the route in the past two months.

Network Rail describes the situation as “absolutely shocking” and warns that the culprits are putting their lives in danger – as well as acting illegally.

Incidents on the Airedale line have included three children being spotted alongside the tracks near Cononley Station, a teenager trespassing close to Skipton Station and a youth walking onto the lines from a platform at Shipley.

The surge in incidents has been mirrored across Yorkshire, with 79 reported during the same period.

Dawn Sweeting, community safety manager with Network Rail, said: “These trespass incidents on the Airedale line are absolutely shocking and show that too many people are ignoring warning signs and putting themselves in danger.

“We’ve seen a worrying number of incidents across the whole of Yorkshire since lockdown began, which could have resulted in tragic consequences.

“It’s never safe to trespass on the railway.

“Lines are used 24 hours a day, seven days a week and you can never anticipate when the next train is coming. As well as passenger services, freight trains run on the network to transport food, medicine and fuel across the country.

“Trains travel at high speeds and cannot stop quickly or swerve out of the way.

“And a deadly 25,000 volts run through the overhead wires, which are used to power some trains. This equipment is always on, even when there are no trains around.

“Everyone loses when someone steps onto the tracks.”

Keighley Central district councillor, Zafar Ali, raised the issue of trespassing on the Airedale railway line two years ago when a man was struck by a train on the tracks close to Hard Ings Road. He was seriously injured, but survived.

The man had accessed the track through some broken fencing.

“These new figures are quite alarming,” said Cllr Ali.

“I reinforce the message that people should not trespass on the railways. They’re putting themselves in danger but also potentially placing even more pressure on our NHS staff , who are already working flat out due to the current crisis.

“However I do feel that Network Rail should also look to see if there’s any more it could do to prevent and deter people from going onto the tracks.”

Anyone who spots somebody trespassing on the railway is asked to call 0800 40 50 40 or 999, or text 61016.