Becky Deniro, 31, unemployed, of Hyde Gardens, Eastbourne, was charged with theft from a shop, trespass on railway property and possessing a knife in a public place, according to police.
She has been bailed to appear at Worthing Magistrates on February 7.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said they responded to a report just after 4pm on Thursday of a suspected shoplifter who had gone onto the track at East Worthing Railway Station.
Officers and railway staff located her on the line and she boarded a train to Lancing where she was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting and trespass on the railway, according to police.
A spokesman for BTP confirmed they were called to the scene following reports of a person threatening to harm themselves and joined officers from Sussex Police.
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