Thursday 31 Jul 2008


Region & Route:
| Southern: Wessex
| Southern

Network Rail’s summer campaign to combat rail crime will be in Southampton this weekend as the No Messin’ message comes to Hampshire.

No Messin’ Live! is a series of free events held across Britain during the school holidays when rail crime peaks. The events offer young people the chance to engage in a range of new activities to steer them away from the dangers of playing on the tracks.

Network Rail has identified around 500 recorded incidents of rail crime in Hampshire in 2007, with the top five “hotspots” at Basingstoke, Cosham, Eastleigh, Farnborough and Fratton. It is estimated that the true figure for the region is much higher, as many instances of rail crime go unreported.

The No Messin’ Live! event in Southampton will take place in Hoglands Park on 1-2 August, with rock climbing, bungee run, drama and art workshops just some of the activities on offer. Network Rail has teamed up with the K2 Urban Youth Festival and BBC Blast on Tour in providing the area’s largest young people’s event of the summer.

Martin Gallagher, who heads up No Messin’ for Network Rail said: "Sadly the combination of good weather and school holidays always results in an increase of trespass and vandalism on the railways by young people.

"What they must realise is that their actions are not only illegal but could prove fatal. We all remember feeling young and invincible but the danger posed to trespassers on the railway is a real one. At Network Rail we do all we can to prevent incidents - from improving fencing to having a team of rail crime education managers who work with the community to raise awareness.

“No Messin Live! in Southampton will give thousands of kids the chance to try fun activities. We hope to grab their interest, sustain that interest to develop their skills and keep them off the tracks for good. This way we can work to reduce rail crime and ultimately save lives.”


The majority of No Messin’ Live! activities will take place on Saturday 2 August from 12pm to 6pm. Network Rail spokespeople will be available for interview between 1pm and 3pm. The K2 Urban Youth Festival and BBC Blast on Tour will also be at Hoglands Park on 2 August.


Railway crime is a serious and ongoing problem for the rail industry with up to 60 people losing their lives each year by taking short cuts or messing around on the tracks and costing the industry over £250 million a year.

In the last five years:

- One in four accidental fatalities was of someone aged eight to 18

- Half of all near misses involved children. With the majority of trespass incidents involving adults, this is quite worrying. It seems as if whilst adults are taking short cuts, children are taking chances

The Dangers - Did You Know…?

- In Hampshire, trains are powered by the ‘third rail’. It carries 750 volts of electricity and is never switched off. Touching the rail will almost certainly result in death or serious injury.

- In other areas of the rail network it takes up to 25,000 volts of electricity to power trains through the overhead lines. It’s always switched on and can even jump through the air to get to you. If you get too close it can kill – you don’t even have to touch anything to get killed!

- Trains travel at up to 125mph and can take the length of 20 football pitches to stop! If you get hit by a train, there will only be one winner

- Trains can travel the length of 20 football pitches in just 7 seconds

The Crime

- Examples of railway crime include trespassing by running across the tracks or taking short cuts, throwing objects, placing debris on the line, interfering with level crossing barriers and equipment, breaking telephones and of course, graffiti, which is the fastest growing type of offence.

The Penalties

- Trespassing on the railway is a criminal offence which carries a fine of up to £1,000. A child of 10 years or older in England and Wales can be prosecuted by the police. A child of 12 years or older can be sent to a residential care unit.

- Putting objects on the tracks (like rocks or shopping trolleys) could cause a train accident which may hurt or kill other people. If you do this, then you can be prosecuted by the police. The maximum penalty for causing a train accident is life imprisonment. If a child is charged with causing a train accident, then a parent/guardian may be prosecuted by the police too.

- Graffiti is also a serious crime which can result in a prison sentence. If you are caught trespassing or vandalising on the railway, then you will be prosecuted by the police.

More Key Facts

- Trespass: apart from suicide, trespass is the largest source of risk on the railway

- Vandalism: evidence suggests that a small number of graffiti vandals or “taggers” are responsible for the vast majority of graffiti in a particular area. Graffiti vandals put themselves in grave danger by scaling walls and fences and trespassing onto the railway

- Railway crime patterns: both trespass and vandalism trends show a strong seasonal cycle with a peak between March and September – when the evenings get lighter and children are not in school.

Notes to editors

No Messin’ Live! will be at Hoglands Park in Southampton City Centre from 12pm to 4pm on Friday 1 August and from 12pm to 6pm on Saturday 2 August. The K2 Urban Youth Festival will take place from 12pm to 6pm on Saturday 2 August. For more information visit www.myspace.com/k2urbanfestivals. BBC Blast on Tour will be at Hoglands Park from 31 July to 2 August. For further information visit www.bbc.co.uk/blastontour No Messin’ recently won the prestigious Business in the Community BUPA Healthy Communities Award. The award, which is supported by the Department of Health and known as the 'Big Tick', recognises companies that work with voluntary and public sectors to improve the health and well-being of UK communities.

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: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk