Newly-released Translink figures show that there were 24 incidents of pedestrian trespass on the Larne railway line this summer.
The figures, which record the number of trespass incidents between the beginning of April and the end of August this year, show that there were a total of 304 recorded incidents in that period, of which 50 took place on the Larne line at Greenisland, Jordanstown, Whitehead and Downshire.
One incident reportedly involved a “near miss” with a youth near Jordanstown, while earlier this year an NI Railways employee reported children playing on the line at Whitehead.
Young males were also reportedly using the tracks as a shortcut at Bleach Green.
Head of Civil Engineering at Translink Mark Atkinson commented: “There are obviously serious risks associated with trespassing on the rail network-life changing injuries or even death. Our trains travel at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour and if a driver has to apply the emergency brakes, it will take over 900 metres for the train to stop.
“In other words, not even the fastest athlete on the planet could outrun a train.
“During holiday periods, incidents of pedestrian trespass on the rail network unfortunately often increase.
“Aside from the very obvious risks to life and wellbeing associated with trespass, every time we receive reports of pedestrians on the rail network, we have to apply a ‘caution’ or speed restriction of 5 mph to trains operating in the area until we are assured that the area is clear.
“This results in delays to services and impacts our passengers.
“We work closely with PSNI neighbourhood policing teams around Northern Ireland throughout the year to identify and prosecute trespassers.
“We would appeal to parents, guardians and teachers to remind young people in their care to never use the tracks as a shortcut or a playground.”