Warning issued to drone pilots following recent railway incident in Britain
Network Rail and the British Transport Police (BTP) have warned drone pilots to keep away from the railway or risk being taken to court and facing a £2,500 penalty.
Network Rail are working with the BTP to investigate footage posted online in which a drone appears to fly dangerously close to the railway between Farnborough and Woking as the Flying Scotsman passed through on 12 April 2019.
Helen Yorke, Route Crime Manager for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said: “This was a very concerning incident which put the safety of passengers, railway staff and members of the public at risk. Network Rail has a team of pilots and specialist approved contractors who are the only people permitted to fly drones near the railway. We do this as inspecting the railway by air is both effective and efficient reducing disruption to train services or the need for workers to go trackside.”
Inspector Andy Jackson from the BTP, said: “First and foremost, flying a drone near to the railway can be extremely dangerous. It is a criminal offence to fly a drone on, over or within 50 metres of the railway and it is important that any would-be drone pilots are aware of this.”
Andy continued: “These strict guidelines, put in place by the Civil Aviation Authority, are there to ensure the safety of those who are using the railway, including passengers, rail staff and the pilots of the drones. British Transport Police will always conduct vigorous investigations where we have evidence that drones are being flown illegally near the railway.”