Network Rail has made huge progress in educating children in rail safety as it takes part in Rail Safety Week across Britain.
The company has reached more than 40,000 children in Wales and the Borders in less than three years. Representatives in connection with Network Rail have visited more than 1,000 schools in that time, most recently in the Vale of Glamorgan.
The visit was organised as part of the Crucial Crew safety initiative, which first partnered with Network Rail in October 2015. The Vale of Glamorgan has some of the highest numbers of trespass and railway incidents across Wales and the Borders - there have been 44 railway incidents in the area between April last year and March this year, 33 of which were trespass incidents.
The news comes as Network Rail takes part in Rail Safety Week, a national, industry-led effort to raise awareness of safety on the railway.
Emily Coughlin, community safety manager for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “The Crucial Crew sessions are fun and interactive, so we really engage with young people and drive home these extremely important safety messages
“As the railway continues to get busier we continue to work even harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers that exist. Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.”
Level crossing safety
Meanwhile, Network Rail’s level crossing and maintenance teams in Wales and the Borders have teamed up to build a model footpath crossing, a type of level crossing, for use in school safety sessions (pictured).
The innovative teaching tool aims to provide young people with an enhanced understanding of how to use footpath crossings safely, by replicating the conditions of a working level crossing.
The mock-up made its first appearance at a rail safety event in Shrewsbury on 5 July. The model can replicate two different types of footpath crossing, both of which can be found in the local area and are common across the railway network.
Andrew Nodder, a teacher at Meole Brace Primary School, said: “This workshop achieved all its objectives and the delivery was excellent. The new model was well received by the children and gave them a chance to practise crossing in a safe environment, away from the live railway. Thank you, Network Rail!”
Rail Safety Week
Elsewhere, Network Rail’s Rail Safety Week activities have included a visit to Carleton in Lancashire to talk about using a new level crossing safely - new overhead line equipment in Carleton carries 25,000 volts of electricity.
Network Rail has been running a high-profile level crossings safety campaign amid a rise in the deliberate misuse of level crossings.
At Manchester Piccadilly, Network Rail staff spoke to members of the public about safety issues. Children from the local St Thomas Primary School visited the station and had the opportunity to see the control room and signal box.