Primary school children have been learning about railway safety during the multi-million pound upgrade of Stechford station in Birmingham.
On Tuesday (9 July) 13 children from Corpus Christi Primary School were invited by Network Rail to see the £3.9m accessibility improvements taking place.
New lifts, ramps and a footbridge are being built as part of Britain's Railway Upgrade Plan to make it more accessible for West Midlands Railway passengers.
Wearing high visibility vests and hard hats, the students had a special tour of the station by Network Rail’s community safety manager and contractor JMS Murphy.
Near to where the new lifts are being fitted to provide step-free access for passengers, the dangers of electric wires and trespassing on the railway were explained.
The children then promised to become railway safety ambassadors and pass on the life-saving safety lessons to the rest of their school before they break for the summer holidays.
Janet Clark, community safety manager for Network Rail, said: “During the visit, we discussed the overhead line equipment that carries 25,000 volts of electricity used to power trains, which are always switched on and can be fatal. Our message is simple: never trespass on the railway for any reason.
“I know the pupils will make fantastic railway safety ambassadors for their school. It was a pleasure to be joined by them at Stechford station where work is ongoing to make it accessible for everyone as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.
Dot Okubadejo, from Corpus Christi Primary School, said: “Going on the trains is a lot of fun, but only when we are safe. We learnt many important facts about the dangers around railway tracks, so we have decided to play our part as Network Rail ambassadors and make everyone around us aware of the many dangers around railway tracks.”
Anthony Pollard, construction manager for JMS Murphy, said: “I think the pupils were able to appreciate some of the many complexities that are involved in civil engineering. First hand experiences like this are extremely valuable and hopefully will inspire some to be the next generation of engineers”.
Trespass incidents often increase during school holidays, and the consequences can be devastating for families with the risk of death or serious injury.
Latest figures show that on average there are more than 250 cases of trespass on the main line railway network every week.
To tackle this problem Network Rail and British Transport Police has launched its ‘You Vs. Train’ campaign for 2019.
The summer-long partnership with the English Football League and charity StreetGames will use sport to reach under-18s to get the message across just how dangerous the railway can be.
For more information on railway safety go to www.YouVsTrain.co.uk.