Monday 29 Oct 2007


Region & Route:
| Southern: Wessex
| Southern
Network Rail and Reading FC are today launching a new initiative as part of the No Messin’' rail safety campaign. The Club and rail safety officers are teaming up to show school children that mucking around on the railway is not a game and that there is a much more fun and safer way to spend their time.

First team players Liam Rosenior and Ulises De La Cruz will kick off the No Messin’ campaign at Our Lady of Peace Junior School in Burnham, with 11 other schools in the Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead area set to receive visits in the new year. Each school visit will consist of a rail safety educational workshop delivered by Network Rail and the Club’s Community coaches, along with a football coaching session, and will be attended by around 100 children aged between 10-14. The campaign will culminate in a football tournament between the 12 participating schools. Monday's visit of Royals stars Rosenior and De La Cruz has been arranged as part of the Premier League’s Creating Chances campaign, highlighting the work of football clubs and players within their local communities. Royals' Community coach Tristan Lewis said, "This is a great initiative and we’re delighted to team up with Network Rail to provide visits to schools that promise to be both educational and fun. Rail safety is a very important issue and football is a great vehicle to deliver this message." In the last three months there have been over 135 recorded incidents of trespass and vandalism in the Thames Valley region – but with many more going unreported it is estimated to be much higher. The incidents include children throwing stones and objects at trains, and youths attempting to throw scaffolding poles onto the line from a footbridge. Martin Gallagher, Head of Rail Crime Education for Network Rail said: "It is extremely important that young people are aware of the dangers of hanging around or playing on the railway tracks. Our No Messin’ campaign works in partnership with football clubs to make kids think twice about using the tracks as a playground, while at the same time showing them that there are much more fun activities such as football that they could do. "A train can take the length of up to 20 football pitches to stop. There is a very real risk to people mucking around on the tracks, and we are committed to raising awareness of these risks to prevent pointless tragedies."

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