TERROR RUN; Shaun, 12, crushed by train as he dashes across 20 rail lines in deadly gang initiation ceremony.
Shaun McGrath, 12, was crushed to death by a goods loco as he ran across 20 railway lines.
The lethal challenge set by school pals was the final test that would have gained him membership of the gang.
But despite his death three weeks ago children are still playing the horrific game at the same spot.
Daredevil Shaun had already passed two tests, running across at least 16 tracks to reach a building known as the White House and another called the Black House.
But the 415-tonne loco ploughed into him as he dashed across four more tracks, heading for a disused building ironically nicknamed the House of Death by gang members.
Shaun's parents were too upset to talk about the tragedy. But neighbour Ignazio Saccomando said: "He was such a nice young lad. He was bright, full of life and always friendly and polite. His death is a waste of a young life."
Shocked Railtrack officials found out about the initiation ceremony as they investigated Shaun's death at Toton sidings, near Stapleford, Nottinghamshire.
Details of their investigation form part of the official report prepared for an inquest.
One railman said yesterday that despite efforts to keep youngsters away from the sidings they were still playing the game there.
Some of the tracks they scramble across are electrified and carry a current of up to 25,000 volts.
The railman said: "What is going on is terrifying.
"This is a well known initiation ceremony in the area. Children are playing Russian roulette with their lives just to join a gang."
Railtrack spokesman Neil Cotton said: "Children would never run in front of cars on a motorway so it is bizarre they play on railway lines.
"A car travelling at speed can brake and swerve. Trains doing 100 miles an hour take a mile to stop. Anything in their path has no chance."
The company is planning to push ahead with safety improvements to try to stop youngsters getting into the siding.
But they admit that if children are determined enough they will still find a way round security measures.
Pupils at the George Spencer school in Stapleford, where Shaun was a pupil, are regularly shown videos warning them of the danger of trespassing on railway lines.
Headmaster Tom Clark would not talk about the gang initiation ceremony. But he said: "This has been a tragic and isolated incident."
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jun 8, 1999|
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