Monday 9 Jun 2003

STAY OFF THE TRACKS AND STAY ALIVE, SAYS NETWORK RAIL AND BRITISH TRANSPORT POLICE

Region & Route:
South East
Southern
Network Rail and the British Transport Police are urging Angmering youngsters to stay away from the railway lines following a recent increase in trespass and vandalism on the coastal line. Typical incidents include youths placing objects on the line which poses not only a risk to the trespasser but also to trains and passengers. Alarmingly, national trends of route crime are on the increase and offenders are getting younger – children as young as five years old have been caught around the country putting objects on the track and eight year olds have been caught playing ‘chicken’ in front of high speed trains. Every single act of route crime has the potential to cause serious harm or even death and can have long-term effects for those involved.  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. Stones and other missiles thrown at trains can have a devastating effect on both the driver and passengers as well as causing damage to trains and infrastructure costing many thousands of pounds. 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. -more- Angmering– 2 Network Rail’s Route Crime Risk Manager, Margaret Barker commented, “Trespassing on the railway is a serious offence and we are asking parents to help us to remind children to stay off the line and not put themselves in a position where they could be hurt or killed. We urge those who are old enough to recognise the dangers to keep off the railway tracks. If they ignore the warnings and go on to commit an offence they will face prosecution.” Inspector Gary Ancell, British Transport Police added, “ I cannot stress enough the dangers involved in either throwing items at trains, placing items on the tracks or actually trespassing on the railway lines. Any person caught committing such acts will be reported with a view to court action and could face long terms of imprisonment if subsequently found guilty. With the summer holidays approaching please educate your children not to play on or near the railway lines and not to endanger the safety of others through criminal acts such as stone throwing.”

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