A new partnership has been launched between Network Rail, the British Transport Police (BTP), the English Football League Trust (EFL Trust) and StreetGames to help tackle the increasing number of people risking their lives on the railway.
Over 250 incidents a week have been recorded by people messing about on the railway – taking short-cuts, capturing photos and even ‘train surfing’ – sometimes with tragic consequences, according to new figures. Responsible for a third of all cases are young people under the age of 18.
“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,” said Allan Spence, head of passenger & public safety at Network Rail.
“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.”
The ‘You vs. Train’ campaign launched last year by the rail industry and British Transport Police saw incidents involving children reduce by 12%, but young people continue to put themselves at high risk. Responding to the continued problem, the industry’s railway trespass group has this year launched a new phase of the You vs. Train campaign, forming partnerships with the English Football League Trust and StreetGames to drive the rail safety message directly to hard-to-reach young people.
At the heart of the issue is a lack of understanding and awareness of the risks. Research undertaken amongst teenagers last year found that, while most are aware that the railway is a dangerous place, most of them don’t realise quite how dangerous it is or the specific dangers they face when they step on the track.
The EFL Trust is the official charity of the English Football League and StreetGames is a charity that supports a network of local projects that operate in the most disadvantaged communities. Both organisations harness the power of sport to educate, engage and encourage positive change for the lives of disadvantaged young people.
As well as reaching children and teens via The EFL Trust and StreetGames, community engagement managers from across Network Rail, 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 will also be 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 overhead power cables – and his family, to illustrate the life-changing impact that the accident has had on them.