Incidents in Scotland have led to parents being urged to teach their children about the dangers of the railway as the schools break for the summer.
In all, 1,969 trespass incidents were recorded in Scotland in 2021/2022 compared with 1632 in the year 2020/2021. Further to this, British Transport Police (BTP) has also dealt with 778 incidents of vandalism compared with 635 incidents during the same period. This includes stone throwing, damage to shelters, fire extinguishers being let off and graffiti.
Officers continue to patrol the network to help tackle the issue and have been engaging with schools to raise awareness of the dangers of the railway.
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British Transport Police Inspector, Michael Magee 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. This summer we are urging parents and carers to have that conversation with their children to ensure they are aware of the dangers of the railway.
“Safety is our top priority and we’re asking that we all speak to our loved ones to prevent further damage or serious injury.”
Liam Sumpter, Network Rail route director for Scotland, said: “Trespassing on the railway is incredibly dangerous – trains take a long time to stop and anyone struck by one will suffer serious injury or worse.
“The railway is also full of hidden dangers – like overhead power lines which can carry up to 25,000 volts and kill instantly.
“We are working closely with the British Transport Police, and other partners, to raise awareness of the dangers of trespass and would urge the public to keep off the tracks.”
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