Network Rail is warning the public about the dangers of rail trespass after 41 percent of adults surveyed in the East Midlands said they’d step out onto the tracks to retrieve their mobile phone.
In particular, Network Rail wants to warn the public how hard it is for a train to stop, and about the dangers of live overhead lines.
The survey results came to light just a short time after teams finished a major stage in the Midland main line upgrade, which is electrifying the line running between London and Kettering/Corby. Network Rail wants the public to know that, despite the £1.5 billion project bringing better train services, it adds inherent risks that come with electrified lines.
Network Rail’s efforts to warn the public have focussed on Bedford, which the company considers a hotspot for trespass incidents. It is also reaching out to people in Luton, Leicester, and Derby and, working with the British Transport Police, has launched a campaign, accompanied by a film, called Shattered Lives. This aims to drive home the dangers of trespassing – which has seen more than 150 adults become seriously injured or lose their lives in the past three years. Adults make up 75 per cent of trespassers on the rail network.
Community safety manager for Network Rail’s East Midlands route Elisha Allen said: “It’s absolutely shocking that so many people are willing to risk their lives and step onto the track for their phone, purse or keys. Trespassing on the railway could lead to life-changing or even fatal consequences for the individual and shatter the lives of their loved ones forever.
“Every time someone strays onto the tracks, they are putting themselves at risk, even if there isn’t a train coming. The electricity in the overhead wires is never turned off. Please don’t take risks and don’t leave the people around you to pick up the pieces.”
Superintendent Alison Evans, British Transport Police, added: “Unfortunately, every summer we see a rise in trespass incidents.
“This summer, please remember that stepping onto the railway at any time is dangerous and illegal. Accessing the tracks as a shortcut or to retrieve a personal possession you’ve dropped will have consequences that stay with you and those around you for life. Don’t let a moment of impatience ruin everything – it’s just not worth it.”