Network Rail is hosting over 70 events in north Wales this summer to raise awareness of the dangers of trespassing on the railway.
Between July and August, Network Rail will host a series of rail safety activities across north Wales including interactive street performances, virtual reality games and rail safety quizzes.
Network Rail will also visit over 20 schools in areas including Prestatyn, Abergele and Pensarn, as well as a number of youth clubs in the area to teach pupils important rail safety lessons.
North Wales is being targeted due to the increase in trespass incidents in recent years. Rhyl has seen the most trespass incidents in north Wales since 2011, the number of incidents in Abergele and Pensarn have more than doubled since 2016/17 and Prestatyn has also experienced a year-on-year increase in incident numbers since 2015.
Working with creative and theatre education specialists, Bollo, a number of interactive street actors and magicians will perform rail safety-themed tricks at key locations including holiday parks, cycle paths, local community events and on trains and station platforms.
This activity will also be complemented by physical mitigations, including additional fencing inspections and working with the British Transport Police to increase patrols during the peak season in repeat trespass locations.
Tracey Messner, community safety manager, Network Rail Wales and Borders said: “Children, and adults alike, continue to risk their lives by going onto the track and it has to stop. Every near miss could be a potential catastrophe leading to life-changing injuries or even death.
“We tend to see a peak in trespass incidents over the summer months, which is why this summer we are targeting tourists as well as the local community in our most intensive community engagement campaign.
“We hope by hosting over 70 events in north Wales this summer, our important safety message will reach as many young people as possible in the area.”
British Transport Police will also visit youth clubs, Scout and Guide groups, and fairs to target young people and share the rail safety message.
A British Transport Police spokesperson said: “The consequences of trespassing on the railway cannot be overstated. Each year, officers from BTP are called to tragic incidents where people have lost their lives, or have been seriously injured, because of stepping onto the tracks. Throughout the summer, we’ll be working hard with Network Rail and our rail operators to prevent youngsters from trespassing, but also to educate them on the hidden risks.
“Please stay safe this summer and do not take any unnecessary risks by trespassing onto the railway. Our officers will continue to carry out high visibility patrols throughout Wales to help prevent a tragedy on the railway.”
James Price, Transport for Wales CEO said: “The railway can be a dangerous place if people do not take the right care and attention and adults or children that choose to trespass on the track are risking their lives.
“I welcome this campaign from our partners in Network Rail that will raise awareness about the dangers of trespassing on the railway and we encourage people to talk to their friends and family about this serious issue.”
Pete Walsh, company director, Bollo Ltd said: “Having spent most of July delivering rail safety workshops to educational establishments across north Wales, we have experienced just how incredibly important these rail safety messages are to the young people of north Wales.
“Over the summer we will be attending over 70 events to reach as many young people and tourists as possible with these potentially life-saving messages. We'll be doing this in a fun and memorable way, so if you see us out and about please come and say hi.”