At 14.22hrs on the 10 October 2021 an empty stone wagon ran away and derailed on a set of trap points at Wrenthorpe Sidings, Wakefield Westgate on Network Rail infrastructure.

    This incident is currently under investigation by the British Transport Police (BTP) as a malicious act by juveniles who intentionally released handbrakes on a number of wagons, before detaching the wagon which ran away.

    Action was immediately taken to review site security arrangements, additional BTP officers were deployed; and a review was undertaken to look at the possibility of permanently isolating the Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) at this location.

    There have been other serious incidents, many of which have led to criminal convictions for railway companies including Network Rail, freight operating companies and a terminal operator.

    Fines have cost the industry many £millions.

    Some examples are:

  • In 2017 an 11 year old boy was killed after coming into contact with overhead line at Daventry Freight Terminal. The site operator was prosecuted and received a record fine of ¬£6.5 million.
  • In 2017 two children received burns at Bescot Yard Freight Terminal after climbing on top of a train and coming into contact with overhead line equipment (OLE).
  • In 2015 a 16 year old was killed at Wrenthorpe Sidings when he climbed onto a wagon and came into contact with the OLE.
  • In 2014 four children gained access to Tyne Yard. Two received injuries after climbing onto a wagon and coming into contact with OLE.
  • In 2009 three children entered Allterton rail depot and climbed on stabled wagons. One child was killed whilst his two friends suffered life changing injuries from the live OLE.
  • Following these incidents and further assessment of the risks work has taken place to reduce the risk of access to these sites through enhanced fencing and removal of redundant buildings that can appeal to trespassers.

    The risk has also been reduced in many areas through removal of stabled wagons and isolation or removal of OLE equipment where wagons are stabled.

    However, this incident at Wrenthorpe shows that trespass continues to be a significant threat and that site security needs to be a priority issue.


  • What process do you have in place to assess trespass risk in depots and yards?
  • Are trespass risk assessments revised regularly enough to capture changes?
  • How do you check that risk assessment findings have been acted upon?
  • Are you using the industry guidance for trespass mitigation?
  • Do you have locations where OLE can be removed or isolated?
  • Where you have known trespass hotspots, how do you work with your community safety manager to understand the problems and work with local communities (schools, social clubs etc)?

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