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Network Rail and the British Transport Police have launched a new partnership with the English Football League Trust (EFL Trust) and StreetGames, in an attempt to tackle the increasing number of people risking their lives on the railway.
New figures released this week revealed that there are over 250 incidents of trespass recorded each week on the national network – taking shortcuts, photos, and even ‘train surfing’ – all of which can result in life changing consequences. Statistics show that under 18s are responsible for a third of all cases of trespass.
The ‘You vs Train’ campaign which was originally launched last year saw a 12% drop in incidents involving children. This year, the rail industry has launched a new phase of the campaign, teaming up with the EFL Trust and StreetGames in an attempt to drive the important message of railway safety directly to the hard to reach young people.
It is believed that the heart of the issue lies in the lack of understanding of how dangerous a place the railway can be. Research undertaken amongst teenagers last year found that, while most are aware that the railway is a dangerous place to be, most of them don’t realise quite how dangerous it is, or the specific dangers they face when they step on the track.
As well as reaching out to children and teens via The EFL Trust and StreetGames; community engagement managers from across Network Rail, the BTP and train operating companies will be out teaching thousands of young people about railway safety.
A new film highlighting the hidden dangers of the railway has also been launched across social media, alongside new content telling the story of Tom – a young boy who suffered life-changing injuries in 2014 when he was electrocuted by the 25kv overhead line equipment – and his family, to illustrate the life-changing impact that the accident has had on them.
Representatives from Network Rail, BTP, the EFL Trust and StreetGames were at Birmingham New Street Station on 8th May to officially launch the partnership alongside children from local schools.
Network Rail, British Transport Police, the EFL Trust and StreetGames have identified 48 high-risk trespass locations across Britain, all of which will be targeted over the coming months. These include:
South London, Croydon, Sittingbourne, Gillingham, Enfield, Ipswich, Norwich, Pitsea, Chelmsford, Reading, Bedminster, Sheffield, Leeds, Derby, Dewsbury, Frizinghall, Rotherham, Nottingham, Doncaster, Birmingham, Stalybridge, Pendleton, Greater Manchester, Rochdale, Coventry, Milton Keynes, Bridgend, Darlington, County Durham, Dalmuir and Shettleston.
Remember – when you step on the tracks, everyone loses.
What did the officials say?
BTP Assistant Chief Constable, Robin Smith, said
“The lack of knowledge about the potential dangers seems to be why young people choose the tracks as a place to take risks, so our main focus is on providing much-needed education. By working closely with The EFL Trust and StreetGames, it will give us the best possible chance of ensuring that the message resonates where it is most needed.”
Mike Evans, Director of Operations at The EFL Trust, said
“Bringing about positive change in the community is at the very core of The EFL Trust’s values. Football can be an enormous force for good and have a profoundly positive impact on communities – so we are looking forward to helping tackle this issue in those areas where children and young people are particularly vulnerable.”
Head of Passenger & Public Safety at Network Rail, Allan Spence, said
“Children, and adults alike, continue to risk their lives by going onto the track and it has to stop. Every day we see over three dozen incidents and each one could be a potential catastrophe leading to life-changing injuries or even death.
“Sport is a powerful vehicle for communicating with this hard-to-reach audience, so by working in partnership with these sports charities we hope to be able to reach children and teens in those communities most at risk with this incredibly important safety message.”
Stuart Felce, StreetGames Head of Community Safety, said
“We were alarmed to hear how many young people unintentionally risk their lives on the railway every year. The network of StreetGames projects work closely with young people from disadvantaged communities every day and so are perfectly placed to help deliver this safety message in a way that we hope will resonate.”
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This article first appeared on www.railadvent.co.uk
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