Young people warned ‘railway isn’t a playground’ ahead of half-term - Wales
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Shocking footage of young people on the tracks has prompted the rail industry to urge parents to speak to children about the dangers of the railway before half-term.
720 trespass incidents were recorded in Wales in the last year. In addition to this, British Transport Police (BTP) has received several reports of anti-social behaviour, stone-throwing and damage to railway property, including newly-installed defibrillators.
Officers continue to patrol the network and motion-sensor cameras have been installed at key locations to help tackle the issue.
British Transport Police Inspector, Richard Powell, explained: “The railway is not a playground. Every time someone steps onto the track they are putting themselves at risk of serious, life-changing injury.
“We tend to see a spike in cases of juvenile related trespass and anti-social behaviour during the school holidays. Safety is our top priority and we’re asking that we all speak to our loved ones to prevent further damage or serious injury.”
Emily Coughlin, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “Trespassing on the railway is illegal but, the fact is, playing on the tracks is incredibly dangerous and could lead to life-changing injuries or even fatal consequences.
“Network Rail and BTP continuously visit schools across Wales, educating children on the dangers of the railway but we also need care-givers help to really get that message across - especially in the lead up to the school holidays.”
Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director for Transport for Wales, said: “It is extremely disappointing that within weeks of the first phase of life-saving defibrillators being installed at TfW railway stations, six have been vandalised and will now need to be repaired.
“The defibrillators are a vital tool for the whole community and this vandalism is putting people’s lives at risk.
“A cardiac arrest can happen to people of all ages and the use of a defibrillator can greatly increase someone’s chance of survival. It’s important the defibrillators are available in key locations, such as railway stations, and in good working order. We ask anyone who sees a defibrillator being damaged to call the British Transport Police immediately.”
Important messages for parents and carers to share with children:
The rail network is never switched off. Electricity powers the overhead cables 24/7.
Never anticipate when the next train is due. Timetables are subject to change and only show passenger services – freight trains can run at any time of the day or night and can travel up to 100mph.
Trespass is illegal, and anyone caught could face up to £1,000 fine and be left with a criminal record.
BTP and Network Rail run a hard-hitting safety campaign – You Vs Train, which highlights the devastating consequences of trespassing on the railway. More information on rail safety can be found at www.youvstrain.co.uk