Network Rail launches new safety warning after 41% of adults in the East Midlands say they would step onto the tracks to retrieve their mobile phone: Shattered Lives Trespass campaign

Tuesday 20 Jul 2021

Network Rail launches new safety warning after 41% of adults in the East Midlands say they would step onto the tracks to retrieve their mobile phone

Region & Route:
| Eastern: East Midlands
  • 41% of adults across the East Midlands say they would retrieve their phone from the track, 41% would risk everything for their purse or wallet and 42% would get their keys
  • 890 trespass incidents reported between April 2020 and March 2021 across Network Rail’s East Midlands route3
  • New safety film – Shattered Lives – highlights the devastating consequences of adult trespass
  • There are other hidden dangers, such as the lethal current which runs through the overhead lines. They are always on so always stay off 

Network Rail is warning people about the dangers of trespassing, after 41% of adults1 in the East Midlands said they would risk all by stepping onto the railway track to retrieve their mobile phone.

Trespassing on the railway can lead to life changing injuries or even fatal consequences. As well as trains not being able to stop quickly or swerve out of the way, where the railway is electrified, a lethal current – which is never turned off – runs through the overhead wires.

The shocking findings come as engineers have completed a major stage of work on the Midland Main Line Upgrade, to electrify the section of the line between London and Kettering/Corby.

The £1.5billion project will bring significant benefits to passengers - such as more seats and faster services - but it is crucial that people follow the warnings, as electrified lines bring additional dangers to anyone who steps on the tracks.

Network Rail is aiming to hammer home the warnings about the dangers of trespassing, including in Bedford, which is a hotspot location, as well as Luton, Leicester and Derby.

Network Rail and British Transport Police have launched a new campaign - ‘Shattered Lives’ – to warn people about the life-changing dangers on, and around the railway where making the wrong choice could so easily lead to devastating consequences for them, their friends and family.

Every year sees thousands of trespass incidents across the rail network. Though often seen as a youth problem, the vast majority of trespassers – 75% – are adults. Their reasons for straying onto the network include taking shortcuts and retrieving dropped items from the track.  In the last three years, more than 150 adults2 have either been seriously injured or lost their lives as a result of trespassing on Britain’s rail network.

Elisha Allen, Community Safety Manager for Network Rail’s East Midlands route, said: “It’s absolutely shocking that so many people are willing to risk their lives and step onto the track for their phone, purse or keys. Trespassing on the railway could lead to life-changing or even fatal consequences for the individual and shatter the lives of their loved ones forever.

“Every time someone strays onto the tracks, they are putting themselves at risk, even if there isn’t a train coming. The electricity in the overhead wires is never turned off. Please don’t take risks and don’t leave the people around you to pick up the pieces.”

Superintendent Alison Evans, British Transport Police said: “Unfortunately, every summer we see a rise in trespass incidents. This summer, please remember that stepping onto the railway at any time is dangerous and illegal. Accessing the tracks as a shortcut or to retrieve a personal possession you’ve dropped will have consequences that stay with you and those around you for life. Don’t let a moment of impatience ruin everything – it’s just not worth it.”

More information on the dangers of railway trespass and the hard-hitting You vs Train campaign can be found on the You vs Train website. 

Information on the Midland Main Line Upgrade and our ‘Always On’ campaign:


Notes to Editors

  1. Network Rail survey of 2,000 adults (18+) in Great Britain on attitudes to trespass, conducted by Yonder Consulting
  2. Source – RSSB
  3. From 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021 there were 16,431 trespass incidents reported on Britain’s rail network (source - National Disruption Fusion Unit)

Contact information

Passengers / community members
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Kathryn Muffett
Media Relations Manager
Network Rail
01904 383180

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