Today (7 March) is World Book Day and we're inviting you to download a very special story about safety on the railway.
Thomas the Tank EngineTM has been teaching children about railway safety in the first book of its kind since October.
Network Rail teamed up with the world’s most famous blue engine and pre-school favourite to help young children learn how to be safe when using the railway.
In the Stay Safe with Thomas story book, the mischievous Thomas has fun on the railway over being safe, putting himself and his friends in harm’s way.
He learns valuable lessons on the dangers of not stopping at a level crossing when the red light shows, leaving gates open to allow animals on to the tracks and standing too close to the edge of a platform.
Network Rail and British Transport Police (BTP) hope the story book will encourage parents to discuss rail safety with their young children in the same manner they teach them about other dangers they may encounter when out and about.
It is the first time Network Rail has partnered with children's entertainment company Mattel and the first time Mattel has published a Thomas the Tank EngineTM book with a rail safety theme.
Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, said: “The railway is full of both obvious and hidden dangers. By offering parents an engaging and fun way to talk to their children at a young age about safety on the railway, we hope children will grow up knowing the dangers and keep themselves and their friends safe.”
The launch of the story book follows the You vs Train campaign, run by the rail industry and BTP this summer, which targeted older children and teenagers to warn them of the dangers of the railway.
In the last five years, the number of young people taking risks on the railway has gone up by almost 80 per cent.
Superintendent Susan Peters said: “Our focus is keeping people safe and working with such a well-known children’s television character is exciting. This Thomas the Tank EngineTM story book gives us an engaging and accessible way to ensure essential safety messaging is reaching young children. Although BTP runs activity through the year to educate the public of the seen and unseen dangers in and around the railway tracks, we hope that being able discuss this subject through the use of these books will make our safety messages go further.”
Maribel Le Gelebart, senior regional licensing manager, Publishing at Mattel Consumer Products, said: “Thomas & FriendsTM has been teaching life lessons for over 70 years through storybooks as well as its exciting content and product ranges. So, it was a natural fit to collaborate on a rail safety storybook which leverages and reinforces the brands’ key values of friendship, teamwork and safety.”
Network Rail and the BTP are distributing copies of the book to local libraries, nurseries and doctors’ surgeries across the country.
A free, electronic version of the book is now available to download. To download your free copy of the Thomas & Friends: Stay Safe with Thomas book please visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/thomas