In a new safety campaign, Network Rail is reiterating the dangers surrounding the misuse of level crossings and trespassing on the railway.
Network Rail has launched the campaign across the south of England in the form of a hard-hitting film about a young teenage boy who jumped level-crossing barriers when they were closed.
The film tells the frightening story of 13-year-old Cristiano when he jumped over level crossing barriers at Hounslow, and highlights the brutal consequences that trespassing on the railway can have on a victim's families and friends, and on railway colleagues involved in such incidents.
The campaign is timed for schools breaking up for half-term and is aimed at both parents and children.
It seeks to bring home the dangers of trespassing on the railway or misusing level crossings, which can come from a 400-tonne train travelling at 70mph, or a potentially fatal 750-volt shock from the electrified third rail that powers trains.
During the last year, there were over 1,500 incidents of people risking their lives by trespassing on the railway across Network Rail's Wessex route which includes Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Somerset, and Wiltshire. That is a 2% increase on the previous year.
Just two months ago Network Rail released CCTV footage of trespass incidents at Motspur Park in south-west London, and last July it reported that there had been nearly 3,000 incidents across its Kent and Sussex routes.
Eric Woodward, head of safety for Network Rail's Wessex route, said: “While our railway is one of the safest in the world, it's crucial that people understand the dangers because too many people are continuing to risk their lives.
“We work really hard to educate people about the dangers present on the railway, whether obvious like a train, or hidden ones like the lethal electric current in the third rail or trackside equipment.
“The only way to avoid these dangers is to never step foot on the railway in the first place and to follow the rules and stay alert when using level crossings.
“I'd like to commend Cristiano for bravely telling his story to deter others and also thank the South Western Railway train driver for sharing his experience.
“I'd urge people, particularly parents over the half term when we know level crossing incidents can increase, to speak to their children, show them this film, and remind them to stay safe.”
Dan O'Riordan, South Western Railway's head of security, said: “Trespassing on the railway is incredibly dangerous and we must do all we can to prevent further incidents. It's our hope that this video will make young people think twice before trespassing and help them understand the consequences. It can be deadly for the trespasser and life-changing for those around them, including their families and our colleagues.”