CHILDREN were hurt when they jumped on the back of a train as part of a dangerous craze called “train surfing”.
The boys, thought to be about 13 years old, leapt onto the passenger train in Ashington at about 10.55 on Monday morning.
One of them, dressed in a red hoodie, fell off the train on to the tracks, injuring his foot. He was seen limping away.
Rail police were called to the town’s Lintonville Terrace level crossing, near where the boys boarded the train.
But despite searching the area and local accident and emergency departments, they have not been able to identify the youngsters.
It is not known which train they boarded on the branch line.
Train surfing is a niche activity but is still popular among some youngsters. In 2004, a 14-year-old boy lost both his legs after jumping on to the roof of a train with a group of friends at Cheshire station.
British Transport Police (BTP) said they dealt with a number of incidents involving the hobby each year.
They are now appealing for witnesses to the event.
Sergeant Tanya Rickard, based at Newcastle’s BTP station, said: “Whilst these youths seemed to have no care for their own safety, they clearly put their own lives at risk and all it took was a minor slip for one of them to fall and injure themselves.
“I would like to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour in the area or a trio of youngsters running from the Lintonville Industrial Park.
“This is a serious offence and I will continue to investigate until the youngsters are located. If the danger is not a deterrent then I hope the threat of police action might be.
“The railway is not a playground and should not be treated as such.”
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “This type of illegal activity poses immense danger and we can’t stress strongly enough how we’d urge people not to do this. One slip could prove fatal.”
A Network Rail spokesman added: “Thankfully train surfing is a rare occurrence but it is incredibly dangerous and the consequences could be serious.
“Not only is it illegal but anyone who attempts it is at risk of losing their life or sustaining serious injury which could affect them for the rest of their lives.
“Our message is simple: do not mess around on the railway.”
He said Network Rail takes trespassing very seriously and works with the British Transport Police to tackle the crime.
Anyone with information can call British Transport Police on 0800 405040 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.