Thursday 13 Apr 2017
Network Rail issues urgent warning to trespassers in Bournemouth
- Network Rail and the British Transport Police record 25 incidents of trespass at Bournemouth, Christchurch and Pokesdown in just one year
- Trespass incidents typically increase in April and May, coinciding with warm weather and school holidays
Network Rail is issuing an urgent warning to trespassers in and around Bournemouth on the potentially life-threatening dangers of trespassing on the railway, after figures recorded by Network Rail and the British Transport Police (BTP) show 25 incidents of trespass on the railway were recorded in just one year (2016/17).
This data is released alongside figures showing that more people than ever are risking their lives by trespassing on the tracks in Britain[i]. The data, which looks at trends over the last four years, shows trespass incidents are at all-time high in the region, while nationally one person trespasses and dices with death every hour.
Research also shows young people are more likely to take a risk on the tracks, with seasonal peaks in incidents coinciding with the spring and summer school holidays.
Becky Lumlock, route managing director at Network Rail, explains: “Any amount of trespass on the railway is worrying but to see such a high concentration in and around Bournemouth in just one year is deeply concerning. Britain has the safest railway in Europe but still too many people lose their lives on the tracks.
“The railway in Bournemouth is electrified with third rail, which means there is an extra track running along the ground that is electrified with 750 volts of electricity. Anyone trespassing on the railway could easily come into contact with the third rail, and the power is enough to kill a person.
“It may seem harmless to take a shortcut, or fun to play on the tracks, but this is not only illegal, it is also very dangerous. Taking a short cut or playing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.”
Every April Network Rail sees a huge rise in the number of people taking a risk on the rail network. In response to the seasonal surge in incidents and to tackle the problem of youth trespass, Network Rail and BTP have jointly launched a schools engagement programme, which aims to teach children in trespass hotspots about railway safety. Additionally, the ‘Tackling Track Safety’ programme will be rolled-out to more than 100 schools across Britain, using sport to educate children about the dangers across the network.
Chief Inspector Sarah White from BTP in the south east said: “We believe the number of children we encounter trespassing every year is sadly, just the tip of the iceberg.
“Every single day we are called to the tracks because a train driver has had to sound their horn or apply their emergency brake In a desperate bid to avoid youths on the line, who then run off, seemingly unaware of the danger they have put themselves in.
“We continue to do all we can to keep youngsters safe by patrolling areas where we know they’re likely to trespass and prevent them from doing so.
“However, we cover thousands of miles of track and we cannot tackle this issue alone. That is why we are urging parents and young people to heed this warning and take a reality check when it comes to trespass. It’s not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real-life consequences.”
New figures also highlight that youth trespass is more prevalent in areas where there is higher socio-economic deprivation. To help tackle this Network Rail has also joined forces with children’s charity Barnardo’s to deliver safety education in specific areas of need and where trespass rates are high. The organisation will be raising money for the charity and encouraging its staff to volunteer and help deliver these safety events.
To find out how to keep your children safe on the railway this summer visit www.networkrail.co.uk/trespass
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.