Gangs are hanging out at train stations "waiting to exploit" vulnerable young children who may have fled a chaotic home life, an MP told Good Morning Britain.
Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Louise Ellman said: "They might have come off the trains, they might just gather at the station - but there are gangs waiting to exploit them."
A rise in violent and sexually related crime at train stations has lead to a call for a "higher police profile" from the rail workers union.
Commenting on a report on vulnerable children at railway stations, Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, said:
According to a report from the Transport Select Committee, between April 2012 and 2013:
- British Transport Police (BTP) had picked up 90 runaway children at Euston main line station.
- A further 185 runaway children at King's Cross stations.
- Some 115 at Paddington, 239 at Liverpool Street and 140 at Euston Underground station.
- However, the report added: "The BTP told us that the problem is not confined to London and that its officers encounter vulnerable children and young people in major railway stations across Britain."
More needs to be done to care for the hundreds of vulnerable children found at Britain's train stations every year, a group of MPs has said.
The House of Commons Transport Committee said over 750 runaways had been picked up by British Transport Police (BTP) at London stations alone, in less than 18 months.
But the committee said it was "surprised to learn" that BTP currently had no targets in relation to child protection.
Entitled Security On The Railway, the report called for authorities and the charity sector to work closer together to protect vulnerable children.
The report said: "The Department for Transport (DfT), the British Transport Police Authority, the BTP and the charity sector should work together to tackle this emerging issue."
A train passenger had a bag containing £15,000 in cash stolen from him as he slept on a Virgin train from Liverpool to Runcorn.
British Transport Police (BTP) released a CCTV image of the man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident, which took place on March 1 at about 9am.
DC Dominic Wilcox said: “The man had planned to travel to Stafford to purchase a car – and was carrying the cash in a bag.
“The victim dozed off and as the train arrived at Runcorn, a man grabbed the bag from the seat next to the victim and quickly left the train.”
BTP appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
Modern trains are "very fast" and "often surprisingly silent" warned the British Transport Police.
Chief Superintendent Miles Flood was speaking as part of a campaign to prevent people from crossing the tracks, after 41 people died trespassing on Britain's railways last year.
The incident happened at the automated half barrier crossing at 19.39 this evening.
The train involved was the 19.26 service from Cleethorpes to Scunthorpe.
Passengers have been taken off train and there are no reports of anyone injured on board.
Witnesses said the barriers at the level crossing were lowered when the car drove on to the track, a Network Rail spokesman said: