Tuesday 12 Dec 2017
Revellers warned to “keep a clear head” around the rail network over the festive season
- 7,419 recorded alcohol-related incidents on and around the railway in 2016/17 – an increase of 17% compared with 2015/161
- 16% of those incidents happened over the festive period2
- Network Rail, British Transport Police and RSSB unite to encourage people to “Keep a Clear Head” on and around the railway
The festive season should be a time of year when everyone can enjoy themselves and have fun. But partygoers are being advised to take extra care as newly-released data from Network Rail, British Transport Police (BTP) and RSSB reveals a sharp increase in the number of alcohol-related incidents across the rail network during the festive period.
Of the 7,419 recorded alcohol-related incidents on or around the railway in 2016/17, 16% of those took place over the festive period – between 24 November and 2 January 2017. 21 people have been killed due to alcohol-related incidents at the platform edge and a further 91 people seriously injured over the last 10 years. Passengers boarding and alighting trains were involved in 469 alcohol-related accidents in the last five years3.
As a result Network Rail, BTP and RSSB have come together to launch their “keep a clear head” campaign warning the public to take extra care when travelling on or around the railway network, especially when they’ve been drinking alcohol.
Danger points for intoxicated passengers are:
- not heeding the warnings at level crossings
- trips and slips at the platform edge and on station stairs and escalators
- straying onto the railway tracks
Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, explains: “Though trains are the safest way to get around, passengers and people living near the railway must always remember that it can be a dangerous place. That’s why we’re reminding the public to remain alert to those dangers whilst they’re having fun over the festive season. Taking a short cut across the tracks, chancing it at level crossings or tripping at the platform edge can, at best cause delays to your journey; at worse it can result in serious harm. Enjoy yourself but don’t let alcohol stop you or your fellow passengers from getting to where you need to be – keep a clear head.”
Tom Lee, Director of Standards at RSSB, said: “Travelling by train is very safe and we want everyone to have a harmless and punctual journey whilst enjoying the festive season. However, with around 469 alcohol-related incidents at the platform edge over the past 5 years, passengers and level crossing users are reminded to take care so that they get to and from their destination safely.”
According to BTP, there is also a rise in violence at many of the busiest railway stations over the festive season, much of which is caused by excess alcohol. Between 24 November 2016 and 2 January 2017, the number of violent offences reported at railway stations across England, Scotland and Wales increased by 14% compared with the same period in 2015/16. Almost one in 10 of those offences involved alcohol4.
In response, British Transport Police are stepping up patrols at railway stations across the country.
Chief Inspector John Loveless said: “Unfortunately, during the festive season, we see a rise in public order offences and antisocial behaviour. Much of this is down to the people involved drinking too much and behaving in a way that would shock them and their family and friends if they were sober.
“We want everyone to get to their destination safely. Our officers will be out on the network helping people to enjoy the festivities safely and encouraging them to think about how alcohol can affect the way they behave and the effect this has on their fellow passengers.
“If you’re using the railway to get around this Christmas, please keep a clear head. Think about what you would do and how you would behave if you were sober. There is no excuse for spoiling other people’s journeys or behaving any differently because you’ve drunk alcohol. We want you to have fun but it’s more important to get where you’re going safely.”
In response to the seasonal surge in incidents, Network Rail and BTP will be holding alcohol awareness events at Britain’s busiest rail stations in the run up to Christmas. Both organisations will also be targeting Christmas revellers in pubs and clubs near railway stations and level crossings with a reminder to ‘keep a clear head’.
- ENDS -
Network Rail 020 3356 8700/ firstname.lastname@example.org
BTP Media Relations 0300 123 9104 / Mediarelations@btp.pnn.police.uk
RSSB Press Office 020 3142 5653 / email@example.com
British Transport Police (BTP) is the national specialist police force for the railway in England, Scotland and Wales.
Our job is to keep the travelling public and people who work on the railway safe from harm. On over 10,000 miles of track, we keep more than 6 million people and 400,000 tonnes of freight safe and secure every day.
Our police officers and staff are experts in their field. Our specialism makes us unique and a vital player in the growing rail industry, keeping us at the cutting edge of modern policing.
Through research analysis, and insight RSSB supports our members and stakeholders to deliver a safer, more efficient and sustainable rail system.
Our vision is to be a centre of excellence, valued by its members and stakeholders as an essential contributor to their success.
Our independent evidence based approach is built on strong technical capability, and the enabling of collaborative industry engagement for the benefit of the whole rail system.
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.
Every day, there are more than 4.7 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.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.