A quarter of young people aged 12-17 know somebody who has trespassed on railway tracks, according to new figures from train operator London North Eastern Railway.
LNER’s findings follow data from Network Rail that found incidents of trespassing on tracks increasing, with some routes reporting a 138 per cent spike.
One in 10 12-17 year-olds said that social media trends for taking selfies in dangerous locations, lockdown boredom and peer pressure were the most likely reasons why they might trespass onto a railway track.
Over a third of those questioned in the LNER-commissioned study said they had never spoken to their parents or guardians about the dangers of railway lines.
Some 41 per cent of 12-17-year-olds wanted the dangers of track trespassing to be spoken about more openly to them, while over a third of parents and guardians had never spoken to their children about it, with 56 per cent admitting that it doesn’t cross their mind.
LNER revealed an installation of an empty children’s bedroom in response to the findings last month as a stark reminder of the reality for many families.
Warrick Dent, safety and operations director at LNER, said: “As lockdown restrictions come to an end and the school holidays begin, it’s our aim to do as much as we can to protect our customers, colleagues, and communities from trespassing incidents on our route.
PC Dan Smith from the British Transport Police, stands alongside an empty child’s bedroom scene, which has been installed by London North Eastern Railway at Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle to highlight the dangers of railway track trespassing
(Image: Owen Humphreys/PA)
“As a parent, I understand that it’s a difficult topic to broach but the numbers show that it’s an important one to tackle.
“Railway track trespassing is a very real threat that needlessly kills those who risk their lives, and our research identified more needs to be done to educate people and encourage open conversations between parents, guardians, and their children.”
Network Rail data showed that 25 per cent of fatalities involving railway trespassing happened to those aged under 18.
Despite it being illegal, an average of two people trespass on the railway every hour, with perpetrators who are caught facing a £1,000 fine. More information can be found at https://youvstrain.co.uk/ – one of Network Rail safety campaigns with schools, charities, local councils, and the British Transport Police to raise awareness on the dangers of track trespassing, particularly with the two groups of people most likely to trespass – teenagers and those in their early 20s.
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