A DRUNKEN passenger caused a near miss and chaos on the railways when he got off his train and stumbled down the tracks for nearly an hour and a half.

A police helicopter was scrambled and trains delayed by 12 hours after Michael Laming walked for miles along the line from Severn Tunnel Junction as far as Somerton Bridge in Newport.

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He left Network Rail with a bill of more than £37,000 following the pandemonium this summer and affected 19 train services.

Victoria Lovett, prosecuting, told Cardiff Crown Court: “At 9pm on August 1, Network Rail reported a near miss in the Newport area.


“Operations had to be put on hold and British Transport Police were contacted as well as the National Police Air Service.

“The defendant was then seen near Somerton Road railway bridge at 10.20pm walking down the tracks.”

Miss Lovett added: “He had been out drinking in Newport during the day and was returning home when he received a phone call to tell him his friend was unconscious.

“He exited his train at Severn Tunnel Junction and began walking towards Newport.

“The defendant said he knew it was an offence to walk on a railway track.”

She added that Laming, 31, of Alice Crescent, Thornwell, Chepstow had no previous convictions.

He pleaded guilty to trespassing on the railway.

Stephen Thomas, for Laming, said: “The defendant understands this is serious behaviour.

“He understands the financial loss and potential for injury or loss of life his actions caused.

“There is little that can be said in terms of mitigation but he was not malicious in his behaviour.

“What he did was foolish and dangerous. He received a telephone call to say a friend was unwell.

“He acted by walking along the track. He was extremely intoxicated.

“When he was seen, he did appear to be startled and disorientated and he became emotional and upset.

“The defendant is very sorry and ashamed of his behaviour. He works for a tyre company and would lose his job if he were to go into custody.”

The judge, Recorder Sean Bradley, told Laming: “When you got off the train, you were asked by staff and drivers to leave the track.

“All trains in the area were stopped until 10.30pm. The cost to Network Rail was more than £37,000.

“There were 12 hours’ worth of delays to 19 trains. This was a very foolish thing to do.”

Laming was sentenced to a 12-month community order and he must carry out 200 hours of unpaid and pay a £95 surcharge.