Monday 30 Jun 2003


Region & Route:
| Eastern: Anglia
| Eastern
| Southern
Network Rail and British Transport Police are targeting seasonal farm workers with a stark safety message to stay off the railway lines.             Each year 25,000 Eastern European students visit Britain to work harvesting fruit and vegetable crops as part of a Home Office Scheme known as SAWS (Special Agricultural Scheme). Many are unaware of the dangers associated with straying onto rail lines.             Network Rail and British Transport Police are working hand in hand to tackle this issue head on by the launch of a new information leaflet that will be issued to foreign workers when they enter Britain. The leaflet gives a hard-hitting message of the risks of trespassing on the railway and is written in many languages to ensure the message hits home.  Modern trains are fast and quiet. They can be virtually on top of a trespasser before they know it, and unlike a car, the train cannot swerve out of the way. They also cannot stop immediately. Long distance passenger trains can weigh several hundred tonnes and, travelling at up to 110 mph, can take almost a mile and a half to stop. Not only is there the danger from the trains themselves, but also rails and sleepers can often be slippery or tripped over causing injury to trespassers or the risk of electrocution. Points can be moved by the signaller without them knowing that there is someone on the line and it is possible for the trespasser to get trapped in them and end up with a crushed foot. Anyone who sees somebody trespassing on the railway or doing anything else that they should not, is urged to report it to the British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40. The number is open 24 hrs a day and the calls are free. Margaret Barker, Network Rails Route Crime Manager said, “ We are deeply concerned about the levels of trespass and vandalism on the railways. What might seem like a bit of childish fun is in reality plain stupidity, which could end up killing someone. The railway is not a playground and children and adults alike should stay away.” Easter Crime - 2 “The school holidays are a key problem time for rail crime.  We are working hard to tackle this issue but I would appeal to local communities and parents to help us in our efforts. Real success in tackling rail crime will only come about if the entire community works together with the rail industry in a concerted effort to make children understand the very real dangers of risking theirs and others lives by playing on the railways.”

Contact information

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

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - South East route
020 3357 7969

About Network Rail

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.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: