Network Rail warns Northamptonshire youngsters of dangers of electrified railway

Network Rail held workshops in two Northamptonshire schools to highlight the dangers of playing on railway lines as new overhead line equipment is installed.

The workshops took place at Rushden Academy and Kingswood Secondary Academy as the Midland Main Line Upgrade, which will see the line electrified from Bedford to Kettering and Corby, continues work in the area.

During the sessions, the children learn all about the dangers of 25,000 volt overhead line equipment and the devastating consequences that this can have. The youngsters also develop ideas for a safety film – which will be produced next year by Network Rail and shown to other teenagers to further spread the message.

In addition to visiting the schools, Network Rail will launch an extensive marketing campaign in the New Year with adverts placed in newspapers and on radio. We will also be writing to all schools and lineside neighbours close to sections of the railway which are being electrified to help people stay safe.

Vicki Beadle, Community Safety Manager at Network Rail, said: “Safety is our top priority and these workshops have done a fantastic job at highlighting the very real dangers of playing on the railway.

“The workshops focused on electrical safety and the overhead line equipment which is used to power trains. Once installed, electrified wires are always switched on – even when there are no trains passing. They carry 25,000 volts of electricity, which can be fatal.

“We felt it was important to offer the students a chance to share their experiences and feed ideas into our new safety film, which needs to be authentic and communicate the dangers to this hard to reach audience.”

Sam Harris, Head of Year at Rushden Academy, said: “The workshops provided students with a real insight into the dangers of playing on the railway and particularly focused on the new overhead line equipment which is being installed locally.

“The workshops gave students an opportunity to express their opinions and personal views, as well as a chance to develop skills such as creativity, teamwork and the qualities required to present in front of people. The students thoroughly enjoyed the workshops.”

Network Rail will be visiting two more schools in the New Year, as well as a Scouts group.