Urgent warning issued over trespassing on Scotland's Railway: Lelant trespass - Nov web

Saturday 30 Mar 2024

Urgent warning issued over trespassing on Scotland's Railway

Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland

Trespassing on the railway is illegal and can cause life-changing injuries or death.

That’s the urgent warning being issued by Network Rail after newly released statistics revealed a worrying rise in people trespassing on the Scotland's Railway.

Railway trespassing continues to be a huge problem, with the number of incidents rising by 11 per cent and fatalities by 85% in 2023/24 compared with 2022/23.

Figures also show that the number of trespass incidents spiked after the clocks went forward and the lighter nights begun during the month of April in both 2022 and 2023.

Ahead of the start of British Summer Time, people are being reminded that:

  • Trains can travel at speeds up to 125mph. If the brakes are applied, it can take the length of 20 football pitches for a train to come to a complete stop.
  • The electricity used to power the railway – 25,000 volts in the overhead cables and 750 volts in the third rail – is on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • You don’t have to touch the electricity sources on the railway to be at risk of harm. Electricity can jump and arc.

Innis Keith, health, safety and environment director, Network Rail Scotland, said: “The railway is an incredibly dangerous environment and those who trespass are breaking the law and risking their lives.

“The impact of choosing to go on to the tracks can be devastating, not just for those who sadly end up with lifechanging injuries or worse, but for their families and railway staff who can be traumatised by these events.

“Added to that is the huge cost to passengers who miss important appointments, to businesses whose people can’t get to where they need to be, and to the emergency services who have to use vital resources on responding to these incidents.

“No-one wants to see people come to harm so we’re urging everyone to ensure they and their loved ones stay safe, stay off the tracks.”

Scotland’s Railway will target the country’s eight cities with a series of rail safety-focused radio adverts and a programme of activities designed to educate people about the dangers of trespassing.

This is in addition to the ongoing partnership with the Scottish FA, where 140,000 children and youths have already benefitted from safety workshops during football camps, with a further 3,600 workshops planned to take place before 2027.

Network Rail and British Transport Police run the You vs Train campaign, which aims to educate the public of the dangers present on the railway to deter them from trespassing and keep them safe from harm.

To learn more about the You vs Train campaign and key rail safety facts visit www.youvstrain.co.uk.   Materials suitable for teaching younger children about rail safety in an age-appropriate way can be found on the Switched On website: Home - Switched On! (switchedonrailsafety.co.uk).

Notes to Editors

It is estimated that trespass – and the resulting train delays and cancellations - costs the rail industry across the Scotland, England and Wales £60m every year, with the wider economic costs running into the hundreds of millions.

The average loss to an employer in Scotland at an average hourly base rate plus employment costs is £30.60 an hour. This does not include loss of productivity and other important factors.

In 2023/24 there have been 1008 trespassing incidents and 24 fatalities compared with 914 trespassing incidents and 13 fatalities in the same period during 2022/23.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Eddie Harbinson
Media Manager
Network Rail

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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 the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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