RAILWAY tracks are not playgrounds – that’s the message from British Transport Police (BTP) ahead of the Easter school holidays.
The warning comes following increased reports during previous school holidays of youths congregating near lines.
Not only do youngsters risk their lives playing near the tracks but their actions can result in severe delays for passengers.
British Transport Police is calling on everyone to do their bit to cut the number of life endangering incidents of railway trespassing.
- Parents – do you know where your children are playing during the holidays? Make sure you know their whereabouts.
- Public and passengers – if you see trespassers near the lines you can use our discreet 61016 text service to report route crime.
- Children – stay off the lines – they are not a safe environment and you are risking your life.
There are 25,000 volts running through the overhead cable on the railway network and you only need to be three metres away to cause serious injury or death.
Not only is playing near railway lines dangerous – it is also costly.
If trespassers are seen on railway lines, it can mean trains are held, the current switched off and staff diverted from their duties.
Similarly, vandalism can cause massive disruption and it is expensive to repair.
Instances of vandals putting obstructions in front of trains, hanging concrete blocks from bridges and throwing stones also historically increase during school holidays . These crimes can lead to serious injury or death and can even derail trains.
Inspector Adrian Yorston, based in Preston, said: “Please stay away from the tracks. Playing there really is dicing with death and there are much safer places to spend time during the holidays.
“By messing around near the tracks, you are putting your own lives in danger as well as the lives of all the staff and passengers travelling on the trains.
“The railway is a dangerous environment, with high speed trains and electric currents, and it should never be treated as a playground or somewhere to hang about.
“Parents and adults must also take responsibility and emphasise the dangers to their children, making them aware that these areas are off limits. They should ask themselves do they know where their children are playing?”
Officers see too many cases of life-changing injuries and death caused by trespassing on railway tracks, and want to reinforce the message that anyone caught trespassing could be taken through the courts.
Inspector Yorston added: “If you are caught deliberately obstructing the railway or trespassing on the tracks and endangering other people’s safety, we will not hesitate to prosecute you.
“We do not want to have to tell any family that their son or daughter will not be coming home. The message is simple: railways are not playgrounds – stay off the tracks.”
Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: “Trespassing on the railway is highly dangerous and poses the risk of serious injury or death. Trains often cannot be heard until they are very close and with more of the network being electrified there are greater risks now than ever before. I urge everyone to not take shortcuts and only cross the railway at level crossings when it is safe to.”
To report a crime to British Transport Police, please call 0800 40 50 40, or text 61016. In an emergency, always call 999.