Monday 16 Jun 2003


Region & Route:
| Southern
Network Rail, the British Transport Police and Kent Police have teamed up to target seasonal farm workers with a stark safety message to stay off the railway lines.               Each year 25,000 Eastern European and Commonwealth students visit Britain to work harvesting fruit and vegetable crops as part of a Home Office Scheme known as SAWS (Special Agricultural Scheme) and predominantly work in the rural areas of the South of England.  Many are unaware of the dangers associated with straying onto rail lines.               Network Rail, the British Transport Police and Kent Police are working hand in hand to tackle this issue head on by launching 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 9 languages to ensure that this life saving information hits home.    Modern trains move quickly and quietly and, unlike road vehicles, cannot swerve out of the way or come to a halt as rapidly.  Trains can weigh several hundred tonnes and, travelling at up to 100 mph, can take almost a mile and a half to stop.    Anyone who sees members of the public trespassing on the railway is urged to report it to British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40. The number is open 24 hours a day and calls are free.   For copies of the leaflet contact Network Rail on 020 7902 3830.   Margaret Barker, Route Crime Risk Manager, Network Rail Southern Region said, “We are concerned that many of these young people have no concept of the very real dangers of taking a short cut across the railway. We hope that the distribution of this leaflet will help to save lives.”   Rural Partnership constable David Leipnik, Kent Police said: “Seasonal workers live in the community whilst they are working in the county and Kent Police has a responsibility to ensure their safety whilst they are here. The Rural Partnership project was involved from the start with this awareness campaign that will also enable us to build on our links with the farming community.”   Chief Superintendent Peter Edwards of British Transport Police said, “Keeping trespassers off rail lines is a vital part of our work. Trespassers are not only putting their own lives at risk, they also cause train drivers much anguish and cause untold disruption as speed restrictions are put on and rail and police staff deployed to investigate.  Much of the time, trespass is just thoughtless, people don't appreciate the risks they are running.  We hope this campaign will remedy that”

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