With half-term beginning for most of the region today, Network Rail is urging young people to stay safe by staying off the railway.

Trespass incidents often increase during school holidays, and the consequences can be devastating for families with the risk of death or serious injury.

It is also a cause of serious disruption to passenger services, with more than 88,000 minutes of delays as a result of trespass across the South Western Railway region in the last year.

Alarming figures have shown 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 admitted to walking along the railway line – more than two fifths of those (42%) in the last year.

Marcia Burnett, community safety manager for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said:

“The railway is full of hidden dangers, particularly the electrical conductor rail which powers trains in the south of England.

“We are doing all we can, together with our partners in the rail industry and in the community, to improve education on rail safety but we need parents and young people to do their bit too.”

Network Rail has delivered rail safety sessions to more than 26,000 young people across the South Western Railway region in the last year, to schools, community groups and youth programmes.

As well as working closely with other members of the rail industry, Network Rail is also working with community sports trusts at AFC Bournemouth and Brentford FC, Saints Foundation, Pompey in the Community, England Boxing and many others to educate children on the dangers of the railway.