Wednesday 23 Nov 2016
PICTURES and VIDEO: “Just don’t take a chance” – bereaved mother’s appeal to stay safe around the railway this Christmas in Kent and Sussex
- South East
When 20-year-old Tommy Ramshaw went out one Friday evening last February, he told his mum he would see her later.
He never came home.
Tommy was killed as he crossed the railway at a level crossing in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, with the lights flashing and the barriers down. It was a moment that his family say was totally out of character.
There will be many people like Tommy enjoying great nights out across the south east this Christmas, and Network Rail, the British Transport Police and train operators are appealing for them to stay safe.
Speaking in a British Transport Police video, mum Jeanette Compton said: “He was just out enjoying himself just like any other Friday and I never ever expected for him not to come home. He made a stupid decision that night to cross through the railway barriers when they were down.
“I remember sitting in the visitors’ room at the hospital and the police came... They just said ‘he's gone’.
“I don't want anybody to go through this. Don't get complacent and don't think because you have an older child that they will do the right thing. If you do live near the railway crossing, just don't take a chance.”
Network Rail has reported a 25 per cent increase in alcohol related incidents across the rail network in December, compared to the beginning of the year¹. Over the last ten years 25 people have been killed due to alcohol related incidents and a further 82 people seriously injured.
Network Rail’s head of public and passenger safety, Allan Spence, said: “We want everyone to have fun over the festive season, but it is also important to remind passengers and those living near the railway that it can be a dangerous place. After a few drinks people can take more risks.
“Taking a short cut across the tracks, taking risks at level crossings and running across platforms and onto trains can result in serious life-changing injuries or death. We are urging passengers to keep a clear head and enjoy the festive season safely.”
Inspector Becky Warren from British Transport Police said: “Our priority is to make sure everyone gets to their destination safely and securely. We want everyone to have fun over the festive season, but it is also important to remember that the railway can be a hazardous place. After a few drinks people aren’t always thinking with a clear head and can take more risks.
“While we understand it can be frustrating waiting for long periods of time, it is vital that people do not use crossings when the barriers are down or the lights are flashing. It is not worth risking your life just to save a few minutes on your journey.
“Trains travel at high speeds and, while the way may appear clear, it is never safe to assume that you will make it across safely when the barriers are down. We are asking you to keep a clear head. Think about what you would do and how you would behave if you were sober.”
- Over 4,000 alcohol related incidents reported over the past five years
- Almost half (44%) of all incidents reported last winter involved alcohol³
- Nearly 250 incidents recorded at level crossings last December
- Passengers boarding and alighting were trains involved in 395 alcohol related accidents in the last five years
Notes to editor
- Between 24 November 2015 and 2 January 2016, the number of violent offences reported at railway stations or on trains in London and the South East increased by 13% compared with the same period in 2014/15 (554 crimes in 2014/15 compared with 624 crimes in 2015/16).
- On average, we receive more than 1,000 reports of theft of passenger property in London and the South East over the festive period.
- Every festive period, we arrest more people for public order offences, which include drunk and disorderly and antisocial behaviour, at railway stations and on trains in London and the South East than for any other type of crime.
- The festive period is classed as between 24 November and 2 January.
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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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