One in four 12–17-year-olds knows someone who has trespassed on a railway track, shocking research reveals

Thirty-five per cent of the 1,000 parents polled said they had never spoken to their children about the dangers of railway trespassing

<p> London North Eastern Railway has installed a set of an empty child’s bedroom which has been hastily left and never returned to due to the tragic loss of life from trespassing on live rail lines, on display in Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle </p>

London North Eastern Railway has installed a set of an empty child’s bedroom which has been hastily left and never returned to due to the tragic loss of life from trespassing on live rail lines, on display in Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle

Lockdown boredom, a trend for taking selfies in dangerous places and peer pressure from friends are most likely to see youngsters stray onto live lines.

It comes after data shows an alarming increase in railway track trespassing, with some routes seeing up to a 138 per cent spike in incidents.

But despite the dangers, the study of 1,000 12-17-year-olds found 36 per cent have never spoken to their parents or guardians about the risk in stepping onto the tracks.

And 19 per cent said nobody had ever brought it up with them.

In response to the findings, train operator London North East Railway (LNER) has revealed a set of an empty child’s bedroom, which has been hastily left and never returned to, due to the tragic loss of life while railway track trespassing.

The display is designed to force shoppers to acknowledge the risks and encourage parents and guardians to sit down with their children and discuss the dangers ahead of the summer holidays.

The Waiting Room will be in place at Eldon Square shopping centre, from 28 July to 3 August, with the Newcastle to Darlington line one of the UK’s worst affected areas of track trespassing, reporting 95 incidents alone last year – an average of two per week. 

Warrick Dent, Safety and Operations Director at LNER said: “As lockdown restrictions come to an end and the school holidays begin, it’s our aim to do as much as we can to protect our customers, colleagues, and communities from trespassing incidents on our route.

“As a parent, I understand that it’s a difficult topic to broach but the numbers show that it’s an important one to tackle.

“Railway track trespassing is a very real threat which needlessly kills those who risk their lives, and our research identified that more needs to be done to educate people and encourage open conversations between parents, guardians, and their children.

“Children are set to spend more time at home during the summer holidays and often are at risk of boredom, therefore we hope our installation makes parents stop and think, prompting them to speak to their children of the dangers of trespassing on the railway and in turn preventing the loss of lives.”

The study also found 41 per cent of 12-17-year-olds would like the dangers of track trespassing to be spoken about more openly to them.

But 35 per cent of the 1,000 parents who were also polled admitted they had never spoken to their children about it.

More than half of those (56 per cent) said it simply didn’t cross their mind to.

However, 75 per cent of parents and guardians surveyed via OnePoll said railway track trespassing is a topic that needs to be discussed.

This is despite data from Network Rail showing that young people are most likely to risk their lives with 25 per cent of fatal cases tragically under 18.

And despite it being illegal, an average of two people trespass on the railway every hour, with perpetrators who are caught facing a £1,000 fine.

For more information on Network Rail’s safety campaign which raises awareness about the dangers on the track, go to https://youvstrain.co.uk/

SWNS

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