A local MP has issued a stark warning about the dangers of people trespassing on rail lines after being sent a picture of two adults and a child walking along the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.

“Rather worryingly, despite the obvious dangers, people are trespassing on our railway lines,” said Robbie Moore, MP for Keighley and Ilkley. “I was sent this photo of two adults with a child walking along the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.

“This is extremely dangerous, risky and totally irresponsible to encourage children to walk along a railway line.

“Even though the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway aren’t hosting visitors at the moment due to Covid restrictions, the railway line is still being used. I am told that the line was used the day before this photo was taken.

“Trespassing on the railway is illegal and dangerous - please stay safe and do not do it.”

Matt Stroh, chairman of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, reiterated the message to avoid trespassing on railway tracks and was grateful to Mr Moore for highlighting the issue.

"Having trespassers on the railway line is incredibly scary," he said. “The fact that there is a child buggy makes it particularly sad and scary."

But he said the picture sent to Mr Moore is not a "unique example".

"It can be a fairly frequent occurrence," said Mr Stroh. "I've had people message when they spotted people wandering down the tracks.

"Some people just see it as a five-mile long footpath. They just don't understand risks.

"People have been aggressive when we've tried to move them on, so they're putting themselves at risk and our volunteers at risk (with their behaviour).

"We've had to close in early January because of lockdown rules, but we've had to run maintenance trains for our 150-year-old railway.

"We've also been running training days recently for our volunteers.

"We're coming back to life on April 17, so people using the railway as a thoroughfare is concerning.

"We're taking another step towards re-opening and there will be filming soon after that date, so the railway will be used intensely over the coming months.

And although the British Transport Police do not police the private Keighley and Worth Valley Railway line, they issued recent warnings to people about of hanging around or going on to rail tracks.

Superintendent Alison Evans of British Transport Police, said: “Trespassing on the railway can have serious, life-changing consequences for the individual, their loved ones and the wider community. Please, make sure you know the rail safety basics and pass that knowledge onto your loved ones. Lead by example and stay off the tracks.”

Olly Glover, Head of Safety, Health and Environment for Network Rail’s North and East route, said: “We’re seeing too many incidents where people seem to be completely oblivious to the dangers they are putting themselves in. It’s never safe to hang around on the railway or use it as a shortcut. Trains can’t stop quickly or swerve out of the way and the consequences can be life changing or even fatal.”