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Man treated for burns after falling onto line - Maidstone East Southeastern railway services disrupted near Harrietsham

This was the scene after a man pushed his bikes over the live rail and it caught fire, leaving him with burns.

The incident meant commuters have experienced delays on the railway today, after the incident near Harrietsham Railway Station. Maidstone East journeys were affected.

The American tourist suffered burns when the bike he was pushing touched a conductor rail when crossing the tracks around 11.30am. The flames spread up his clothes to his legs and arm.

This was the scene after a man's bike was wheeled over train tracks and caught fire. Picture courtesy: British Transport Police Kent
This was the scene after a man's bike was wheeled over train tracks and caught fire. Picture courtesy: British Transport Police Kent

Firefighters gave first aid and passed him to the care of paramedics. He has been taken to hospital.

The incident prompted the fire service to issue a warning reminding people not to trespass on the railway and to use official, crossing points, such as bridges.

It is believed the man didn't realise UK railway lines are powered by a third rail and crossing them without permission is treated as trespassing. He accidentally allowed his bike touch the live rail, causing its tyres to catch alight. 

Fire crews treated the man for the burns and gave him oxygen therapy before handing him to the care of paramedics.

Dominic Moore, crew manager, said: "The gentleman was extremely lucky to survive this incident. We would advise anyone attempting to cross a railway to use official, signposted crossing points such as foot bridges and level crossings."

British Transport Police officers also attended.

A British Transport Police spokesperson said: "We received reports of a man suffering burn injuries after crossing the tracks on a bicycle at Harrietsham station around 11.40am today.

"Officers attended the station alongside the local ambulance service and the man was taken to hospital where he is currently receiving treatment.”

Two services were affected, the 11.06am and 12.06pm trains from Canterbury West to Victoria, but all lines later re-opened.

A repair was also carried out by engineer afterwards. 


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