A RAIL operator has reminded people about the dangers of trespassing on the tracks by releasing a CCTV image showing three teenagers casually risking their lives.

Network Rail showcased footage of three youngsters using the Ducketts level crossing in Pudsey to access the railway back in May, during the lockdown.

The teenagers make their through the gate for pedestrians, but instead of crossing the line, turn left and head down the track.

Roughly 127 passenger and freight trains pass through the Ducketts level crossing each day at speeds of up to 60mph.

They cannot stop quickly or swerve out of the way and you can never anticipate when the next one is due.

The consequences of misusing the crossing can be fatal or life-changing, but it can also carry a hefty fine.

Ducketts level crossing is a private user-worked crossing, meaning that anyone who is using the vehicle gates without the correct permission, or those who walk outside of the clearly marked pedestrian access, are trespassing illegally.

This can mean a fine of up to £1,000.

The crossing has become a problem zone in the past 12 months, with 22 incidents (misuse and vandalism) recorded in that time.

These include four children running in front of a train and a woman taking her daily exercise along the track.

This behaviour delayed train services, some of which were being used by key workers to get to and from their jobs.

Network Rail is urging parents to warn their children about the risks at a time when trespass incidents traditionally rise.

Dawn Sweeting, Community Safety Manager for Network Rail, said: “Trespassing is extremely dangerous, and the CCTV footage from Ducketts level crossing is shocking and incredibly worrying to watch.

"It’s never safe to hang around on the railway.

“It’s vital that we make young people aware of the dangers and the devastating consequences that trespassing can have by educating them, and by setting an example.

“We typically see a rise in trespass incidents during the school holidays, so please have a discussion with your children before it’s too late – as everyone loses when you step on the track.”

The issue extends beyond those using the crossing to access the tracks.

Many who take a chance with crossing at the last moment also put themselves in serious danger.

Back in 2016, there was a terrifying near-miss with a cyclist (above) who was crossing the line and a car carrying a trailer had a lucky escape when using the crossing seven years ago, in 2013.

As well as this latest warning, Network Rail's Community Safety teams continually engage with schools to teach young people about the dangers of trespassing and to promote level crossing safety.

The ability to physically go into schools has been limited due to the coronavirus pandemic and the operator introduced online classes as an alternative.

These include advice such as, "stop, look and listen", making sure you concentrate and are not distracted by music or conversation, for example, and checking both directions before crossing.

Network Rail will be writing to those living near the Ducketts level crossing to remind them of how to use it safely too.