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Man electrocuted on Dorchester rail line
A MAN was electrocuted on a railway line as he crossed the tracks in Dorchester .
The 24-year-old visitor was killed on tracks near Dorchester South train station in the early hours, British Transport Police said.
It is believed he was trying to cross the line when he stepped on to the third rail which carries a 750 volt current.
An investigation is being carried out but the man’s death appears to be a ‘tragic accident’.
Train services on the Weymouth-Waterloo line were not affected because it happened so early in the morning and no services were running.
Police and South West Ambulance Service were called to the scene by Network Rail just after 4am on Sunday, where the man was pronounced dead.
A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said: “BTP and Dorset Police officers were called to the line near Dorchester South rail station in the early hours of Sunday, August 19 after a man’s body was discovered.
“South Western Ambulance Service medics also attended but the man, a 24-year-old from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“The incident was reported to BTP at 4.19am and is currently being treated as non-suspicious.”
The tracks were handed back to Network Rail at 5.15am.
Both Network Rail, which owns the station, and South West Trains, which manages it and runs Weymouth-Waterloo services, did not wish to comment on the incident.
BTP Inspector Mick Morriss said: “We believe at this stage that the man was electrocuted after trying to cross the tracks.
“Sadly this appears to have been a tragic accident and our thoughts are with the man’s family at this difficult and sad time for them.”
The man’s family have been informed and a post mortem was due to take place yesterday.
Inspector Morriss added: “Officers will now be looking into the full circumstances surrounding this incident as part of the file to be prepared for the coroner.”
Residents of Cromwell Road and Alfred Road, which back on to the station, said they were ‘shocked’ over the tragedy but had not seen it. One, who did not wish to be named, said: “The platform slopes down and you can just walk straight on to the line, it could be quite dangerous.
“It’s a through-way into town and it’s just open for anyone to go through there.
“You get a few kids hanging about there but nothing like this has happened before.”
Another added that the area was very dark at night due to the lack of street lighting.
Dorchester councillor Tim Harries, who works as a taxi driver and often picks up passengers at the station, said: “It’s really terrible. The trains are running normally now, there’s no sign of an incident.
“You hear about things like this elsewhere, but this is the first I’ve heard here. It’s terrible.”
A similar tragedy occurred at Upwey three years ago.
In 2009, young dad Theo Slack died when he accidentally fell on to the line at Upwey train station.
Mr Slack, from Bristol, was killed by a 750 volt current and was hit by a train that passed by three minutes later.
Fatalities linked to trespass
In 2011, there were a total of 34 trespass fatalities on Britain’s railway.
Trains can travel up to 125 mph and take the length of 20 football pitches to stop.
Up to 60 people are killed on the railway every year by crossing the tracks, taking short cuts or playing chicken.
The Rail Safety and Standards Board, which runs the Trackoff campaign to teach children the dangers of railway lines, says the only safe places to cross are bridges, subways and level crossings.
Some trains are powered by electricity which is never switched off. In some parts of Britain, the electricity runs through a rail on the track and in others through the overhead power lines.
The electricity is so strong that if you touch a power rail or step on it, you will not be able to get off.
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