Watch: Footage shows train narrowly missing two people in Downhill tunnel

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Two pedestrians narrowly avoided being hit by a train as they walked through a tunnel at Downhill Beach.

The footage, released by Translink, shows a lifeguard waving frantically to the train driver as the Londonderry to Belfast service approaches the stretch.

The on-duty lifeguard had spotted the pair walking towards the railway track and rushed to alert them to the danger.

As the train enters the tunnel, CCTV footage picks up the two figures rushing to safety inside an alcove.

A spokesperson for Translink said they managed to escape with nothing more than some scratches.

The video has been released as part of a wider campaign highlighting the dangers of trespassing on the rail network.

304 incidents of pedestrian trespass were recorded on Northern Ireland’s rail network between the beginning of April and August this year, with Whiteabbey, Finaghy, Dunmurry and Antrim featuring in the list of hotspot areas.

Another incident saw three young people playing ‘chicken’ on the tracks at Meetinghouse Lane, Dunmurry, while others were spotted using the tracks as a shortcut at Bleach Green.

Mark Atkinson, Head of Civil Engineering at Translink said the number of incidents of pedestrian trespass increase during holiday time, he added:

“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 two thirds of a mile for the train to stop. 

“In other words, not even the fastest athlete on the planet could outrun a train.

“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”

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