RAIL enthusiasts are being warned to keep off the tracks when the world’s most iconic locomotive visits Hampshire this weekend.

The famous Flying Scotsman will leave London Victoria on Saturday in the morning and travel to Salisbury, arriving in Southampton in the afternoon before returning to London in the evening.

Network Rail and British Transport Police issued the warning following a series of illegal trespass incidents across the country, as well as dangerous drone operations.

The upcoming Wessex tour also comes after hundreds of train lovers were left frustrated after the famous engine was blocked by a South Western Railway service at Romsey station.

Trespassers caused nearly 60 services to be delayed in the Midlands for a total of 1,000 minutes when the Flying Scotsman was travelling between Burton-upon-Trent and Tamworth earlier this month.

The railway in the Southern region is also largely electrified using a ground-level conductor rail, which is always switched on and can seriously injure or kill anyone who comes into contact with it.

Network Rail and British Transport Police warn residents it is illegal to fly a drone on, over or within 50 metres of the railway. This could result in being taken to court and face a penalty of up to £2,500.

David Dickson, chief operating officer for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said: “Unfortunately, we have experienced serious incidents of illegal trespass on the railway when Flying Scotsman has been touring, putting lives at risk and causing delays for tens of thousands of passengers.

“We will be working closer than ever with British Transport Police and train operating companies to make sure everyone can safely enjoy the experience and the joy this iconic piece of British engineering brings.”

Network Rail, British Transport Police and train operating companies will have extra staff at stations, officers on-board the train and mounted cameras to capture any people trespassing.

Inspector Andy Jackson, from British Transport Police, said: “Despite previous warnings, people have ignored our advice and illegally trespassed on the tracks. This is not acceptable and we will always work hard to identify offenders and take appropriate actions.”

The locomotive will start its journey on May 30 when it tours the Surrey Hills.


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