A STUDENT ran a mile down a railway track and across a viaduct to catch a train, putting her life at risk.

Police said the 34-year-old woman panicked after getting off the train at Burnley Central Station to buy a ticket when it set off again without her.

She climbed down from the platform and chased after the train at around noon yesterday.

Police said the woman, who has not been named, ran to the next station Burnley Barracks, a mile down the line.

Another train travelling in the opposite direction had to stop as staff plucked her to safety and called police and the woman was quizzed for several hours.

She was issued with a £50 fixed penalty notice for trespassing.

The incident caused disruption on the service between Colne and Blackpool and trains were stopped for around 10 minutes.

The woman had got on at Nelson and wanted to travel to Preston but her card had been declined.

She had got off the train at Burnley Central to buy a ticket but the train set off.

Insp Phil Hutchinson, from Lancashire Police, said: "She was on her way to university to sit an exam and some of her property was on the train."

He said the woman could have been killed and warned rail users of the dangers of jumping on the tracks.

Insp Hutchinson said: “It is absolutely one of the most dangerous things people can do.

“From our point of view, it not only puts yourself in danger, but my staff as well.

“We have a duty to protect people and make sure they are safe, but I have to deploy my officers onto the live tracks if someone gets on.

“People don’t often think about the additional consequences.

“If a train had hit her she could have been killed."

Passengers described the disruption caused yesterday.

Sharon Ellis, 27, from Nelson, said: “I’ve been in a situation like that myself but I just buy a ticket on the train. I don’t know what possessed her but I bet she feels a bit stupid now.”

Lauren Westwell, 16, of Rishton, said: “You are always told how dangerous it is to go on the tracks and everybody knows that, it sounds like a very strange thing to do.”

Percy Lane, 68, from Colne, said: “It’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard.”

A Northern Rail spokesman said: “We ask that all passengers boarding at a station that has an open ticket office or a ticket vending machine, to purchase tickets before getting on the train.

“This particular passenger made the decision to leave the train at Burnley Central to purchase a ticket after her card was declined on-board.

“We would like to remind passengers to take their belongings with them when they leave the train to reduce incidents such as this happening again. Not only did the woman’s actions cause delay but she also put own safety at risk by trespassing on the tracks.”

A spokesman for the British Transport Police said: “BTP officers were called to the line close to Burnley Central railway station after a report of a woman trespassing.

“The incident was reported to us at 12.11pm and was also attended by Lancashire Police.

“Officers subsequently spoke to the 34-year-old woman and issued her with a £50 fixed penalty notice for trespassing.”