Train driver rescues injured terrier after spotting it on track

Published: May 6, 2008 | 7008th good news item since 2003

FOR most dogs it would have been the end of the line.
But a two-year-old terrier had a lucky escape when it was rescued from a section of track used by dozens of high-speed trains every day.

The dog was spotted by a kind-hearted train driver as it lay on the line near Meadowbank with an inch-long cut to the head.

The driver stopped his train and took the terrier on board during a training exercise.

He and a colleague took turns nursing it on a round-trip to Newcastle before handing it over to animal welfare inspectors on their return to Edinburgh.

The rescue on Thursday took place during testing for a new high-speed train due to be unveiled by rail company Cross Country Trains later this year.

Officials at the company said their staff had done “the honourable thing” by saving the animal.

A spokesman for Cross Country Trains said: “The driver noticed this dog on the line after departing from Craigentinny, although he originally thought it was just resting.

“However, after turning the train around at Waverley and heading back out of the city, he spotted it again and realised that it was injured.

“By stopping to pick the dog up, both the driver and his colleague saved it from suffering a horrific fate.

“Thankfully, the train they were in was on a training exercise and not carrying any passengers, so they were able to stop and carry it out of harm’s way.

“Once they noticed it was injured, they were determined to stop it from being hit by another train travelling at high speed. It was certainly the honourable thing to do.”

Animal welfare staff took the dog to their centre in Balerno to be treated for its head injuries.

John Toule, senior inspector with the Scottish SPCA, said: “It’s unlikely that it had been hit by another train before being found by the drivers, but it was obviously in pain and they decided to take it with them.

“It’s certainly very lucky that they did. Another train travelling at speed would certainly have hit this dog if it had not been picked up.

“Following treatment at our welfare centre, he appears to have recovered well from the ordeal and we have now taken him to a stray dogs home.”

Despite being classed as a stray, as it was not microchipped and did not have a collar, it is believed the dog had originally been a pet.

It was wearing a distinctive blue bandana that had a hole cut in it so that a leash could be attached and animal welfare officials are keen to track his owners.

They have also not ruled out the possibility that the dog could have been deliberately struck on the head and left to die on the tracks.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish SPCA said: “At present we don’t know how or why the dog came to be on the railway line. If there has been foul play we would wish to have the chance to prosecute those responsible or, if simply accidental, we would hope that he could be reunited with his owner.”

Published in Animals
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