Monday 27 Oct 2003


Region & Route:
| Southern
Network Rail is urging youngsters throughout the South to stay away from railway lines and not to treat them as playgrounds during the half term break. A campaign by Network Rail, the British Transport Police and the train operators, has seen a reduction, on average, of 5% in crime incidents compared to this time last year. Initiatives such as junior citizen schemes, visiting schools, improving fencing and using CCTV have helped drive the message home. Every single act of route crime has the potential to cause serious harm or even death and can have long-term effects for those involved.  Stones and other missiles thrown at trains can have a devastating effect on both the driver and passengers as well as causing damage to trains and infrastructure costing many thousands of pounds. Placing debris on the tracks has the potential to derail a train. Anyone who sees somebody trespassing on or causing damage to the railway is urged to report them to the British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. The numbers are open 24 hrs a day and the calls are free. - more - Safety – 2 Network Rail’s Route Crime Risk Manager, Margaret Barker said: “The new figures are very encouraging and illustrate the industry’s efforts to highlight the dangers in the region. However, the incident rate is still far too high. The number of trespassing reports within the Souths’ hotspots is shockingly high. There were more than 100 incidents in the last month and we have had children as young as 12 years old throwing bricks at trains and putting metal drums on the line. In this area trains are powered by electricity, an extra danger to children.” Mrs Barker added: “Many of these incidents begin as harmless fun but can soon escalate into something dangerous and potentially fatal not only for those taking part but for passengers and staff as well.  We can improve fencing and put in place other physical deterrents but we urge parents to help us by warning your children of the dangers and criminal nature of trespass and criminal damage. The railway is not a playground.”

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