Children play chicken with freight train

TRANSPORT police warned parents after a group of school children were caught playing a deadly game of chicken with an oncoming freight train.The horrifying incident happened at around 9pm on Tuesday night on the train tracks at Elmswell, near Bury St Edmunds.

TRANSPORT police warned parents after a group of school children were caught playing a deadly game of chicken with an oncoming freight train.

The horrifying incident happened at around 9pm on Tuesday night on the train tracks at Elmswell, near Bury St Edmunds.

Officers were called after the terrified train driver, which weighs several tonnes and can reach speeds of up to 40mph, phoned the police.

Sgt Bob Munn, of British Transport Police, said: "A group of eight children aged about 15-years-old were spotted playing chicken on the track at Elmswell at 9.07pm on Tuesday night.


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"I can't say how close they were to the train, but they were obviously near enough for the train driver to be sufficiently scared and dial 999 – they were close enough to put lives in danger.

"The group were caught and spoken to by officers."

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Sgt Munn added: "This was really stupid and dangerous. Any form of trespass on the railway line is very dangerous and that done by children – particularly playing chicken – greatly increases the risk to their lives.

"If you are hit by a train you have no chance of survival. I would ask parents if they know where their children are right now.

"Are they where you think they are, or will the next knock on the door be one of my officers coming to tell you that your children or child will not be coming home at all?"

Mike Nunn, a spokesman for Suffolk police, said: "We spoke to a number of youths. Their details were taken and letters will be sent to the parents of the children concerned."

The Elmswell track is part of the Peterborough to Ipswich line, used by Anglia Railways, and passenger trains can reach speeds of up to 90mph on it.

Peter Meades, a spokesman for Anglia Railways, said the company has a small team of train drivers who visit schools to warn youngsters about the dangers of playing on railway lines.

He added: "We completely condemn this - it is totally irresponsible. Not only does it put their own lives at risk, but it also endangers the lives of the people on the train in the event of an accident occurring.

"We work closely with both Network Rail and the British Transport Police to try and clamp down on incidents of trespass."

David Barker, chairman of Elmswell parish council, said he was shocked to hear of the potentially life-threatening game.

"I'm not aware of this particular incident but I do know that something along these lines has happened before. Parents must stress upon their children how dangerous this is – they are putting their own lives at risk and those of others.

"I am sure the parish council will be looking into it. It is something we will take very seriously."

The region's commuters faced delays of up to an hour yesterday after a woman was killed in an accident at Brentwood Station in Essex.

A spokeswoman for First Great Eastern (FGE) said that one of their long distance trains had been "involved in a fatality" at the station at 12.26pm.

As a result trains run by both FGE and Anglia Railways were hit by delays and the 12.40 Anglia train between Norwich and London was cancelled.

An Essex Ambulance spokesman said: "We got a call at 12.30pm to a report of a person on the line. We sent two ambulance crews and the air ambulance.

"It appeared there was a dead person on the track and it looks like a suicide. The rail line on the Colchester bound track was shut just after platform two.

"We were cleared up and away by 1.40pm and we did not take anyone to hospital."

British Transport Police are investigating the incident.

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