Vandalism on the railways is on the increase in spite of new preventive measures introduced by operator ProRail.
The company recorded 649 incidents last year, compared to 608 in 2016. They include shopping trolleys, surfboards and bricks being placed on the tracks. ‘People often don’t realise that their actions can lead to life-threatening situations,’ said a ProRail spokesman.
The most costly form of vandalism is graffiti, which costs €4 million a year to clean up.
In recent years ProRail has hired extra surveillance staff to patrol areas where vandals are known to operate, installed cameras in all medium-sized stations and started using mobile cameras.
The company has also urged YouTube to take down films of ‘train surfing’ in which young vloggers record themselves hanging off the side of moving trains. YouTube has said it has a policy of taking down dangerous footage as soon as possible.