Network Rail has launched a new awareness-raising campaign to warn against trespassing on the railway during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The ‘Stay off the tracks. Stay home. Stay safe.’ campaign will run on commercial radio stations across Scotland and on social media channels from May to July.

Targeting younger people in particular, the campaign has been launched in response to increasing levels of trespass on the railway during the current lockdown period.

Over 70 trespass incidents have been recorded on Scotland’s Railway since March 20, when Scotland’s schools closed ahead of the full lockdown on March 23.

Trespass is proving to be an issue across the country including locations in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Perthshire, the Lothians and the Highlands.

Incidents in just the last week include:

-On May 2, two adults and a child were reported to be trespassing on the railway near Neilston and a male trespasser was on the line in Dunfermline.

-On May 1, two young people were spotted trespassing near Dalgety Bay station and a male trespasser crossed the line near Dalmeny.

-On April 30, a group of teens delayed trains after trespassing on the line near Coatdyke and three young people were spotted on the railway near Whifflet.

-On April 28, three teens delayed trains near Hamilton West station and a male trespasser delayed services near Alexandra Parade in Glasgow.

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “While most people are observing the guidelines on staying home and social distancing, we are seeing a worrying number of trespassers on our tracks.

“We need the public to stay safe and stay off the railway – allowing us to focus on supporting the country by keeping key workers and vital freight services on the move.

“Trespassing on the railway is incredibly dangerous – anyone struck by a train will suffer life-changing injuries or worse and, on electrified railways, the overhead power lines carry up to 25,000 volts and can kill instantly.”

Network Rail works closely with the British Transport Police to keep Scotland’s Railway secure and trespassers and vandals will be prosecuted.

The public can also help to keep the railway safe by contacting Network Rail’s 24-hour helpline on 03457 114141 to report any locations where trespassers are gaining access to the tracks.

To find out more about the dangers of railway trespass, visit www.youvstrain.co.uk, the campaign led by Network Rail and the wider rail industry to address the issue of trespass on the railway.