The tortoise named Clyde, who weighs 50 kg, had been “clipped by a train” as he made his way along the tracks but had been mostly unharmed, with some damage to his shell being the only injury sustained. Network Rail staff who noticed the animal then swooped in to save him and remove him from the tracks, and were later able to reunite him with his owners.
In the tweet – which was posted on @networkrailang – staff said: “We rescued a 50kg Giant African Spurred Tortoise from the tracks yesterday near Harling Road station after being clipped by a train, damaging his shell.
“We are happy to report that Clyde is OK and will be returning home soon; if a little shell shocked perhaps. #ClydetheTortoise.”
Network Rail also later explained how they had managed to find Clyde’s home, as they revealed the tortoise had escaped from a nearby centre in East Harling that owns several giant tortoises.
They wrote: “One of our team who rescued Clyde was aware of a nearby centre who owned giant tortoises in East Harling and so approached them to ask if they were missing one.
“Local knowledge sometimes pays off and luckily tortoises can’t get too far too fast.”
The department said in a tweet that their team had to carry him around 400-500metres to the nearest access point.
They tweeted: “So he may have walked anywhere between 400-600 metres from his home and found himself on the tracks.”
Several commenters on the tweet were quick to heap praise on the staff members who saved the tortoise, with many saying they did a “good job” in stepping up to rescue the animal.
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Others, however, took the opportunity to joke about the tortoise’s reasons for travelling along the tracks in the first place – with one person suggesting Clyde had decided to “walk to London” to avoid dealing with “delayed or cancelled” trains.
Someone quipped: “Leaves, the wrong type of snow, and now a giant tortoise. Glad it was a happy ending.”
Someone else also joked: “One of the very best ‘train was late’ stories.”