Be a First Class Mate: look out for your friends this Christmas

We’re urging party-goers to take extra care of friends and colleagues getting the train home this festive season.

It comes as figures show the number of alcohol-fuelled violent offences recorded at railway stations during the Christmas and New Year period has more than doubled in the last two years.

In the last 10 years, 21 people have died in alcohol-related incidents on station platforms, or between platforms and trains. Many more have been severely injured by slips, trips or falls in train stations.

Meanwhile, one in four violent offence incidents reported last winter involved intoxication from alcohol.. British Transport Police (BTP) often sees this violence directed at other passengers or station staff, with the consequences involving people being injured and the offenders being arrested.

Network Rail has partnered with BTP, with the support of alcohol education charity Drinkaware, to raise awareness of the risks of travelling home after a few too many drinks.

We advise passengers to look out for their mates when intoxicated and stay safe by:

  • Standing back from the platform edge, behind the yellow line
  • Holding onto the handrail on stairs and escalators
  • Walking - not running
  • Staying off the railway tracks
  • Speaking with station staff if you need help
  • Texting British Transport Police on 61106 to report an incident.

Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, said: “Travelling home by train is absolutely the safest way. But we have seen drunk people taking a short cut across the tracks, chancing it at level crossings or falling between a train and the platforms. Even escalators see more drink-fuelled accidents.

"Please take care of yourself and your friends - don’t let that last drink cause bad decisions. Be a ‘First Class Mate’ and look out for those making their way home by train that may have had one too many."

Drinkaware will train Network Rail staff at some of Britain’s busiest stations in response to the seasonal surge in incidents. The training will give them extra skills to recognise and support people who may be intoxicated.

Elaine Hindal, chief executive of Drinkaware, said: “Drinkaware’s vulnerability training and Drinkaware Crew scheme are designed to equip employees to provide support to people on nights out and have been successful in helping organisations reduce alcohol related harm across the UK.”

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Be a First Class Mate