Stay off Northamptonshire's train tracks warning ahead of 'perfect storm' of temptations

Lockdown easing, clocks going forward and school holidays all happening before end of March

Sunday, 21st March 2021, 11:40 am

Rail bosses and Transport Police are putting in calls to Northamptonshire schools and parents this week urging them to keep kids off the county's train tracks..

Safety experts warn of a 'perfect storm' of temptations on the horizon with lockdown restrictions easing, school holidays and British Summer Time all before the end of the month..

March 29 is the next target date in Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown when the 'rule of six' allow people to mix outdoors for the first time since January 5.

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Network Rail's You vs Train campaign launched in 2018
Network Rail's You vs Train campaign launched in 2018

That is also the first day of schools' Easter break — and the day after clocks go forward, meaning more daylight hours.

New data revealed the number trespass incidents on Midlands railways DOUBLED as people were allowed out last July — mostly through under-18s getting on to tracks where trains speed through at up to 125mph.

Both electrified routes rail routes through Northamptonshire are now 'live' with cables carrying 25,000 volts above the tracks.

Now, Network Rail and British Transport Police are using their You vs Train campaign to urge parents and teachers to talk to teenagers about rail safety and the devastating potential impact of trespass to them and their friends and family.

Cables above train tracks carry up to 25,000 volts

Elisha Allen, Network Rail's Community Safety Manager for Network Rail said: “We’ve done so much in the past few years to raise awareness of the dangers of trespassing through campaigns such as You vs Train and numbers were reducing. However, the lockdowns seem to be driving some very worrying behaviour.

“Trespassing on the railway is extremely dangerous and can have life changing or even fatal consequences. Trains cannot slow down quickly or swerve out of the way and people should never hang around on the railway or anticipate when the next train is coming.

“We’re asking families across the region to sit down with their loved ones and hammer home the dangers of stepping onto the track.

"You can’t outrun a train. Even if you could, you wouldn’t hear it as today’s trains can reach 125mph almost silently.

"And they run 24/7. Even if you think it’s 'quiet', you can be hit by thousand-tonne freight trains which run all night.”

Work on electrifying the Midland Mainline route from Wellingborough, Kettering and Corby was completed late last year and the current was switched on ahead of fully-electric trains running from May.

Before that, a new film is being streamed into schools as part of a rail safety broadcast by Network Rail’s education partner LearnLive.

BTP Superintendent Alison Evans added: “We often warn families at this time of year as the evenings get lighter and children prepare to enjoy school holidays. However, this year our concerns are more acute, especially as we are not able to get into schools ourselves to pass this message onto children directly.

"Trespassing on the railway can have serious, life-changing consequences for the individual, their loved ones and the wider community. Please, make sure you know the rail safety basics and pass that knowledge onto your loved ones. Lead by example and stay off the tracks.”

Trespass is a serious concern for Network Rail, who created the You vs Train campaign in 2018 in partnership with British Transport Police.

Primarily concentrating on young people, the number of incidents across the railway had been significantly decreasing year on year since the campaign’s introduction.

To help combat the expected seasonal climb in trespass, a new You vs Train film has been launched to get children to not only think about the devasting consequences that their actions can have on them and their loved ones, but the wider, sometimes hidden harm caused to the community, in particular rail staff.