Farmers whose land is near the railway across Wales and the Borders are being asked to notify Network Rail of any damaged fencing or changes to the location of grazing livestock.

The call comes after an increase in instances of animals getting on to the railway during the recent hot weather.

Iain Gay, infrastructure maintenance delivery manager for Network Rail in Wales and Borders, said: “The hot weather has made water and grazing in short supply on some farms, so farmers are understandably looking to move their livestock to different grazing areas.

“We have had examples of animals pushing through lineside fencing to access grass and shrubs growing near the railway line. So, if farmers are concerned about the condition of fencing when moving their animals to a new field, it would be helpful to tell us so we can make sure it is fit for purpose.

“All our boundary fencing is inspected on a regular basis but we are keen to work with farmers to make sure we are doing all we can to prevent animals from accessing the railway.”

To keep passengers and livestock safe, when animals get on to the tracks, trains must run at a reduced speed or stop completely until the livestock is safely removed from the line. Animals getting on to the tracks in Wales and Borders has caused a total 5,573 minutes of delays to trains so far in 2018. In the past two months, Network Rail has seen a 25% increase in instances of animals on the railway line.

When damage to fencing is reported, Network Rail maintenance teams will visit the site to carry out suitable repairs. Similarly, if Network Rail is made aware of changes to the location of grazing livestock, checks on whether the fencing is suitable will be carried out.

Farmers can contact Network Rail’s helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 0345 711 4141 or emailing [email protected].