Keep a clear head campaign

We remind revellers to keep a clear head near the railway after drinking.

If you’re having a drink this festive season, remember alcohol can affect your vision and judgement (as you can see in these shocking CCTV clips below), so take extra care on the railway in stations and at level crossings – don’t turn your world upside down.

 

As the festive season approaches, more people are going out to work parties and drinks, or catching up with family and friends, but for some, that fun can spell danger, and there is a sharp rise in alcohol-related incidents at stations and locations on the rail network.

Alcohol can affect your vision and judgement, and when you’re at a station or a level crossing this could cause serious injury or death for you or someone else.

We’ve joined with the British Transport Police and RSSB to raise awareness of the dangers of being intoxicated while on the railway network. Our Keep a Clear Head campaign reminds people to take extra care on level crossings and in our stations, whether using an escalator or standing on the platform.

Danger points for intoxicated passengers are:

  • not heeding the warnings at level crossings
  • trips and slips at the platform edge and on station stairs and escalators
  • straying onto the railway tracks.

How many incidents involving alcohol are there on the rail network?

Of the 7,419 recorded alcohol-related incidents on or around the railway in 2016/17, 16 per cent of those took place over the festive period – between 24 November and 2 January 2017. There have been 21 people killed due to alcohol-related incidents at the platform edge, and a further 91 people seriously injured over the last 10 years. Passengers boarding and alighting trains were involved in 469 alcohol-related accidents in the last five years.

According to British Transport Police, there is also a rise in violence at many of the busiest railway stations over the festive season, much of which is caused by excess alcohol. Between 24 November 2016 and 2 January 2017, the number of violent offences reported at railway stations across England, Scotland and Wales increased by 14 per cent compared with the same period in 2015/16. Almost one in 10 of those offences involved alcohol.

Top 10 stations with alcohol-related delay-causing incidents

StationTotal delay-causing incidents between 2012/13 to 2017/18
Birmingham New Street452
Reading433
East Croydon369
Milton Keynes Central350
Leeds279
Stratford266
Doncaster262
Peterborough240
Bury Street Jn to Seven Sisters219
Wolverhampton209

What we’re doing

We’ve partnered with the British Transport Police, RSSB and Drinkware – a charity that helps people make better choices about drinking – to raise awareness of the dangers and encouraging people to keep a clear head on the rail network using local and national communications channels, including across social media.

Follow #KeepAClearHead on Twitter and Facebook.

We’re also sharing our message to smartphones on the rail network in some locations where there have been higher levels of alcohol-related incidents or with more pubs and clubs nearby. There will be alcohol awareness events in stations in the run up to Christmas.

Our level crossing managers are providing safety information to level crossing users, and our new virtual reality film, ‘Keep a clear head’, can be viewed on our level crossings app – search Google Play and the App Store – or on YouTube.

Though trains are the safest way to get around, passengers and people living near the railway must always remember that it can be a dangerous place. That’s why we’re reminding the public to remain alert to those dangers whilst they’re having fun over the festive season. Taking a short cut across the tracks, chancing it at level crossings or tripping at the platform edge can, at best cause delays to your journey; at worse it can result in serious harm. Enjoy yourself but don’t let alcohol stop you or your fellow passengers from getting to where you need to be – keep a clear head.

Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety, Network Rail

Resources

Click on the images below to download an A4 poster to support the campaign.

Above: A4 poster for the Keep a Clear Head campaign – image showing station escalator

Above: A4 poster for the Keep a Clear Head campaign – image showing a level crossing