Network Rail and the British Transport Police (BTP) have today launched a new partnership with the English Football League Trust (EFL Trust) and StreetGames to help tackle the increasing number of people risking their lives on the railway.
New figures released today reveal over 250 incidents a week have been recorded by people messing about on the railway – taking short-cuts, capturing photos and even ‘train surfing’ – sometimes with tragic consequences. Young people (under 18s) make up one of the largest categories, responsible for a third of all cases.
Allan Spence, head of passenger & public safety at Network Rail, said: “Children, and adults alike, continue to risk their lives by going onto the track and it has to stop. Every day we see over three dozen incidents and each one could be a potential catastrophe leading to life-changing injuries or even death.
“Sport is a powerful vehicle for communicating with this hard-to-reach audience, so by working in partnership with these sports charities we hope to be able to reach children and teens in those communities most at risk with this incredibly important safety message.”
The ‘You vs. Train’ campaign launched last year by the rail industry and British Transport Police saw incidents involving children reduce by 12%, but young people continue to put themselves at high risk. Responding to the continued problem, the industry’s railway trespass group has this year launched a new phase of the You vs. Train campaign, forming partnerships with the English Football League Trust and StreetGames to drive the rail safety message directly to hard-to-reach young people.
At the heart of the issue is a lack of understanding and awareness of the risks. Research undertaken amongst teenagers last year found that, while most are aware that the railway is a dangerous place, most of them don’t realise quite how dangerous it is or the specific dangers they face when they step on the track.
BTP Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith said: “The lack of knowledge about the potential dangers seems to be why young people choose the tracks as a place to take risks, so our main focus is on providing much-needed education. By working closely with The EFL Trust and StreetGames, it will give us the best possible chance of ensuring that the message resonates where it is most needed.”
The EFL Trust is the official charity of the English Football League and StreetGames is a charity that supports a network of local projects that operate in the most disadvantaged communities. Both organisations harness the power of sport to educate, engage and encourage positive change for the lives of disadvantaged young people.
Mike Evans, Director of Operations at The EFL Trust, said: “Bringing about positive change in the community is at the very core of The EFL Trust’s values. Football can be an enormous force for good and have a profoundly positive impact on communities – so we are looking forward to helping tackle this issue in those areas where children and young people are particularly vulnerable.”
Stuart Felce, StreetGames Head of Community Safety, said: “We were alarmed to hear how many young people unintentionally risk their lives on the railway every year. The network of StreetGames projects work closely with young people from disadvantaged communities every day and so are perfectly placed to help deliver this safety message in a way that we hope will resonate.”
As well as reaching children and teens via The EFL Trust and StreetGames, community engagement managers from across Network Rail, BTP and Train Operating Companies will be out teaching thousands of young people about railway safety.
A new film highlighting the hidden dangers of the railway will also be launched across social media alongside new content telling the story of Tom – a young boy who suffered life-changing injuries in 2014 when he was electrocuted by the overhead power cables – and his family, to illustrate the life-changing impact that the accident has had on them.
Representatives from Network Rail, BTP, EFL Trust and StreetGames will be at Birmingham New Street Station on 8th May to officially launch the partnership alongside children from local schools.
To watch the new video and find out how to keep your children safe on the railway visit: www.YouVsTrain.co.uk.
Interviews, imagery and video footage available on request.
Notes to editors:
Network Rail, British Transport Police, EFL Trust and StreetGames have identified 48 high-risk trespass locations across Britain, which will be targeted over the coming months. These include:
South London, Croydon, Sittingbourne, Gillingham, Enfield, Ipswich, Norwich, Pitsea, Chelmsford, Reading, Bedminster, Sheffield, Leeds, Derby, Dewsbury, Frizinghall, Rotherham, Nottingham, Doncaster, Birmingham, Stalybridge, Pendleton, Greater Manchester, Rochdale, Coventry, Milton Keynes, Bridgend, Darlington, County Durham, Dalmuir and Shettleston.
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of Britain's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in Britain and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced – a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.
Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk
About British Transport Police
We are the national police force for the railways. Our aim is to keep you safe and make you feel secure while you travel.
We police Britain’s railways, providing a service to rail operators, their staff and passengers across the country. We also police the London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, the Midland Metro tram system, Croydon Tramlink, Sunderland Metro, Glasgow Subway and Emirates AirLine.
StreetGames (www.streetgames.org) is an award-winning national sports charity launched in 2007. A delivery partner of Sport Wales and the Welsh Government, and Sport England, and a national centre of expertise for developing sport in disadvantaged communities. StreetGames helps make people and communities healthier, safer and more successful by making sport accessible to all young people, regardless of their income or social circumstances. It does this by supporting and establishing locally trusted organisations around the UK that deliver doorstep sport. Doorstep sport sessions include positive activities and sport provided to young people when they want it, where they want it and how they want it. Over 2.4 million attendances have already been generated by StreetGames’ programmes. StreetGames has now grown to support over 1,000 locally trusted organisations across the UK. 530,000 children and young people living in the UK’s poorest communities are enjoying a more active lifestyle and the opportunity to volunteer within their local community because of StreetGames.
About the EFL Trust
EFL Trust is a national charity that uses the power of football to change people’s lives.
EFL Trust unites the inspirational work delivered across England and Wales by the dedicated network of Football Club Community Organisations associated to the 72 EFL Clubs.
Last year, the network engaged over 1 million people, using the power of football to improve individual’s health, inspire education, reduce crime, increase participation in activity and tackle many difficult social issues like drug abuse, counter extremism and homelessness.