As schools shut due to the Coronavirus (CIVID-19) outbreak, school children are at home with time on their hands, and with time to get into trouble.
Network Rail has released a photograph of three young boys risking their lives as they take photos at a level crossing near March, on the busy Ely to Peterborough rail line. The boys seem completely oblivious to the dangers as they set up a tripod to take photos on the tracks.
Passenger services are still running on this line and it is also a busy freight route for the many ports in the Anglia region. Freight trains are not all slow and lumbering – they can travel at up to 100mph – and, over the last few weeks, the number of freight services has increased as they transport goods up and down the country.
Data shows that trespass incidents rise during the school holidays as children are tempted to trespass or take a shortcut across the railway lines. Now parents and carers are being urged to hammer home the railway safety message and make sure that children and young people ‘keep off the tracks’ now schools are closed.
More than 13,500 trespass incidents occur on the rail network each year, a quarter of which involve youths. 1,800 of them were in Anglia.
Becky Crocker, Network Rail’s community safety manager for Anglia, is understandably concerned. “There are so many dangers on the railway, so it’s truly shocking to see these young boys risking their lives like this for a photo,” she said. “This is a busy line and we are running more freight services to transport goods around the country right now.
“I urge all parents to please talk to your children, access our free school railway safety lessons and help us to help protect young people. Taking risks on and around the railway nearly always results in horrendous consequences for everyone.”
To keep children occupied and stop them from straying, parents and carers can sign up for free online tutorials of the ‘You Vs Train’ railway safety lessons that which are normally broadcast into schools by the rail industry’s educational partner LearnLive. Visit learnliveuk.com/trespass-awareness-week/ to find out more.