Railway trespassers in the South West hits a five-year high
Posted: 18 April 2017 | | 1 comment
New figures have revealed that more people than ever in the South West are risking their lives by trespassing on the rail network.
New figures from Network Rail and the British Transport Police have revealed that more people than ever in the South West are risking their lives by trespassing on the rail network.
The data studied trends from the past five years and shows that trespasses are at an all-time high in the region, with Bristol, Gloucester, Swindon and Truro seeing up to a 100% increase since 2012.
There were 553 trespassing incidents last year in the South West on the railway (a rise of 14%) with research showing that young people are more likely to risk their lives on the tracks and that seasonal peaks coincide with school holidays.
“As the railway gets busier and we electrify more lines to improve services, we must work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers,” said Steve Melanophy, Community Safety Manager at Network Rail. “It may seem harmless to take a shortcut, or fun to play on the tracks, but this is not only illegal, it is also very dangerous. Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.”
Tackling Track Safety
In 2016, 32 children were caught trespassing by police in the region, with boys aged 14 to 16 being stopped the most. To combat this the ‘Tackling Track Safety’ programme will be rolled out to over 100 schools across Britain, using sport to educate children about the dangers of the railway.
“We believe the number of children we encounter trespassing every year is sadly, just the tip of the iceberg,” said Inspector Paul Martin from BTP in the South West. “We continue to do all we can to keep youngsters safe by patrolling areas where we know they’re likely to trespass and prevent them from doing so.
“It’s not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real-life consequences”
“However, we cover thousands of miles of track and we cannot tackle this issue alone. That is why we are urging parents and young people to heed this warning and take a reality check when it comes to trespass. It’s not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real-life consequences.”
To find out more about safety on the railways, look out for Global Railway Review’s Issue 3 In-Depth Focus section on Level Crossing Safety, out on 17 May. Click here to register for your copy.
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