Network Rail is urging parents to speak to their children about the dangers of playing on the railway and the importance of using level crossings safely after recent incidents at Peth Lane level crossing in Ryton.

In recent months, there have been multiple incidents of children and teenagers messing around on the level crossing, including playing chicken with trains. In one incident, the train driver had to apply their emergency brake.

This type of behaviour is incredibly dangerous; trains travel at high speeds, they have a long stopping distance and they cannot swerve out of the way.

With the school holidays fast approaching, Network Rail is urging parents to speak to their children about staying safe near the railway and the importance of staying off the tracks.

Newly released figures show that 57% of teenagers in the North East said they had walked on the railway in the past year and Network Rail has launched a hard-hitting safety campaign ‘You vs Train’ to highlight the devastating consequences which trespassing on the railway can have.

Dawn Sweeting, Community Safety Manager for Network Rail, said: “Messing around at level crossings is incredibly dangerous.

“The railway is not a playground and people need to treat it with the respect it deserves. We do a lot to highlight the dangers of messing around on and near the railway. We have a team of community safety managers who visit schools and engage with the community, as well as running campaigns.

“Sadly, we have seen too many times the tragic consequences of children ignoring the warnings and taking risks that have resulted in terrible injuries or death. We are asking parents to speak to their children about the dangers and how important it is to stay safe.”

Network Rail upgraded the crossing in 2017, which saw Miniature Stop Lights (MSLs) installed at the crossing. These give users a clear message about when it is safe to cross. When the green light is lit up, users can cross the railway and when the red light is lit, users must wait at the crossing until the green light shows.

Anyone wishing to find out more about how to use level crossings safely can visit the Network Rail website.