The onset of lighter evenings and the Easter school holidays are prompting British Transport Police (BTP) to remind parents and youngsters about the dangers posed by playing on or near the railway.
At this time of year the national police force for the railways and Network Rail – the owner and operator of the railway infrastructure – traditionally experience an increase in the number of reports of route crime offences.
These include trespass, stone throwing, vandalism at line side locations and obstructions being placed in front of oncoming trains.
In addition to causing avoidable disruption and delays to train services, those engaging in such behaviour can put themselves, passengers and those working on the network in danger.
As well as working with local communities and its rail industry partners BTP will continue to target criminality by increasing high profile patrols at identified ‘hotspot’ locations – where similar behaviour has been an issue in the past.
Temporary Chief Superintendent John McBride said:
“Anyone who indulges in these stupid criminal activities on or near the railway put themselves in great danger as well as the lives of staff working on the rail network and passengers travelling on trains.”
Mark Henderson, Network Rail community safety manager for Scotland, said:
“Trespassing is extremely dangerous and can have tragic consequences for those involved. Trains take a long time to stop and anyone struck by one is likely to be killed.
“There are 25,000 volts passing through overhead power lines – enough to kill.
Trespassers don’t even need to touch the cables to be electrocuted as electricity can jump from the cables to nearby objects.
Anyone who has concerns about specific locations where they know trespassers are gaining access to the railway can report them to our national helpline 24-hours-a-day on 08457 114141.”
Temporary Chief Superintendent McBride concluded:
“I am urging youngsters to stay away from the lines and asking all parents to emphasise the dangers. If you live near a railway line, please ask yourself if you know where your children are playing.”