A distraught dad  jumped on to a railway line and caused disruption costing more than £9,000, a court heard.

Southampton Magistrates' Court heard that a worker at Southampton Airport Parkway station saw Timothy Dowler, 35, acting strangely on the platform on October 11 last year.

He planned to go and get police because he was worried Dowler, who was described as a "suicidal alcoholic" might harm himself but suddenly he jumped on the rails by the station, just inches away from an electrified conductor rail.

Prosecutor Rachel Standish told magistrates that the terrified worker knew a train was only minutes from arriving and quickly called operators to tell them to switch off the tracks and stop all movements through the station.

She said: "He was arrested and taken to the police station and Dowler was visibly upset, and said he just wanted it all to end.

"The total cost was £9,162 to the railway company because it has to be closed for 123 financial minutes."

Magistrate Joan Ferrer said: "It's only thanks to the quick actions of the worker that he averted a huge disaster.

"He reacted immediately and could see what was about to happen."

In mitigation the court was told that Dowler was suffering from drink and drug problems at the time and was distressed because he was not able to see his children.

Mark Rigby, defending, insisted that his client has now entered a rehabilitation programme and has severely cut down on his alcohol intake.

Mr Rigby said Dowler was on the tracks for about five minutes and that the incoming train was a number of minutes from arriving at the station.

He said: "It was sparked by his inability at that time to see his children and had he gone through with the act he would never have seen them again.

"He was in drink at the time and he is a recovering alcohol - you are punishing a man who was a suicidal alcoholic.

"Clearly his consumption of alcohol contributed to his mood and all rational thought processes had gone from his mind."

Dowler, of Elm Avenue, New Milton, pleaded guilty to causing obstruction of an engine using the railway.

He was given a four-month curfew from 9pm until 7am daily, and was ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.