“Four years on… I’m reminded by that one decision to go on the railway”

“They explained how lucky I was to be alive, but it was going to be a long road to recovery.”

Warning - this article contains imagery some readers may find upsetting.

Tom Hubbard was just 16 when he escaped death after climbing onto a parked train. He was electrocuted by more than 25,000 volts from overhead power cables and suffered third degree burns across 57% of his body.

Tom was still lying on top of the train while 10 ambulance crew worked to save his life, his mum Siobhan looking on.

He was put into an induced coma to give his body a chance of recovering from his injuries. Doctors told Siobhan to prepare herself for the worst.

Tom said: “I woke up 11 days later in the burns unit at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital wrapped from head to toe in bandages, heavily medicated and unable to string a sentence together. I don’t think I knew what was real and what wasn’t.

“When the doctors and my mum came to speak to me a few days later, the enormity of what had happened finally hit me.”

Tom's story is the basis of a short film released as part of a campaign to reduce the number of young people taking risks on the tracks

Thankfully, after numerous skin grafts and physiotherapy, Tom pulled through but he continues to live with the physical and psychological consequences of what happened.

“Four years on I’m still affected by the events of that day and every time I look in the mirror I’m reminded by that one decision to go on the railway.

“The accident has made me more of an introvert and cautious of trying new things, often opting to stay in during the day to avoid people and wear hoodies and long-sleeved tops to hide my scars, even on hot days.”

Tom Hubbard and his mum Siobhan four years after the incident

Tom’s incident is a frightening and very real reminder of the hidden dangers of the railway. Unfortunately, the number of young people taking risks on tracks has increased by almost 80 per cent in the last five years.

More than a quarter of teenagers (27%) confess to behaving in a way that could endanger their life on the railway. One in 10 teenagers admits to walking along the railway line, including more than two fifths (42%) in the last year.

Young people and the tracks in numbers:

Only a third of teenagers believe the railway is extremely dangerous

Only a third of teenagers believe the railway is extremely dangerous

A third doesn’t believe severe burns as a result of electrocution are risks of going on the tracks

A third doesn’t believe severe burns as a result of electrocution are risks of going on the tracks

15% think it’s safe to walk on the railway track if you check a timetable

15% think it’s safe to walk on the railway track if you check a timetable

17% think fetching a dropped or lost item from the railway is relatively safe if you leave immediately

17% think fetching a dropped or lost item from the railway is relatively safe if you leave immediately

To find out more about the campaign search #YouVsTrain on social media or visit You vs. train website.

Read more true stories about the consequences of going onto the tracks.