The brand new Travel Safe and Travel Smart Centre at Margate Railway station, is a dedicated rail safety education facility featuring a full-scale railway platform and an impressive life-sized train front, along with a model railway and interactive games.
The centre is aimed at both primary and secondary aged school children.
The dedicated facility is the first of its kind in the country and was created in a bid to raise awareness in children of the need for rail safety and to try and reduce instances of trespass, which is currently on the increase.
The new centre now means that the work the community safety team does in schools can now also take place at the purpose-built facility using interactive games and resources, which will add further impact to this vital educational message.
The use of real tracks in a controlled and safe space means the centre can raise awareness for the school children about the extreme dangers of trespassing. Children will learn that the live rail carries up to 750V of electricity which can kill instantaneously.
Other facts learned are that a train can weigh in at around 400 tonnes, which means it needs enormous stopping distances compared to a car, which also makes being able to stop for someone on the rails is out of the question. Children will also watch a new safety film called Parallel Lines which has been made by Network Rail’s partner in education LearnLive.
Trespassing creates enormous disruption throughout the network with a knock-on effect of delays for thousands of passengers who are just trying to go about their daily business. In a worst-case scenario, trespassing carries a massive risk of catastrophic injury or death. The latest figures reveal that from January to March 2021 there have been 179 trespassing incidents which lead to delays of approximately 97 hours in the southern areas of Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, despite the risk to life.
Recent figures from British Transport Police’s National Disruption Fusion Unit discovered that since 2019, a huge increase of 40% in trespass incidents in the Southern region have taken place.
Network Rail Southern region director John Halsall, said: “The work our community safety team does in visiting classrooms to warn of the dangers of trespassing on the railway is so important and our new Travel Safe and Smart centre will enable us to get those messages across even more clearly.
“This is the only dedicated rail safety education centre for children in the country and we hope that it will help get across that trespassing on the railway can have serious, life-changing consequences for the individual, their loved ones and the wider community.”
Southeastern’s managing director David Statham, said: “When young people are injured or killed on our railway, the impact ripples across the community and the impact on our colleagues is huge. Anything we can do to help educate people into staying safe will make a difference and this facility will be a cornerstone of that.
“It’s so important to us that any group of school children coming to visit the centre will get free travel on our trains to get here.”
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