Network Rail is trying to warn children and their families, as it published shocking footage of youngsters playing around the tracks in Worcestershire.
The footage showed repeated incidents filmed in just one area: the Jamaica Road level crossing in Malvern, on the line between Hereford and Worcester. More than 70 trains pass through that area each day, at speeds of up to 70mph.
Over nine days in June, the cameras recorded ten incidents of children taking their lives into their own hands; some weren’t stopping, looking, or listening before crossing a track, others loitered or sat down on the tracks as part of a dare, or left clothing on the rails.
Rhys Evans, level crossing manager at Network Rail, said: “The footage we’ve captured at Jamaica Road is concerning and shows that local children still aren’t aware of the potential dangers of trespassing on the railway – despite our hard work to educate the local community on level crossing safety.
“Our message to parents and guardians is to please warn your children that the railway is not a place to play. It’s absolutely vital that everybody remains vigilant when crossing the railway as trains are fast, frequent, and quieter than ever.”
Francis Thomas, from West Midlands Railway, said: “Railways are not playgrounds. Trains cannot swerve, nor can they pull-up suddenly. If you are not on a train or in a station – quite simply, you shouldn’t be on the railway.”
Trespassing on the railway network is a major issue for Network Rail and the wider rail industry. People fail to understand the danger they put themselves, and others, in when they make the choice to stray onto the rail network unauthorised.
The problem is traditionally seasonal – there are spikes at key times throughout the year, with higher incidents taking place during British Summer Time and the school holidays. That’s why the rail industry, Network Rail and the British Transport Police launched a campaign – ‘You Vs Train’ – in 2018 to increase public awareness of the problem and the dangers involved.