Transport police urge youngsters to stay off the tracks

A youth trespasses in front of a train at Horbury, near Wakefield.
A youth trespasses in front of a train at Horbury, near Wakefield.

As the school sumer holidays get started British Transport Police (BTP) are urgin parents tomake sure their children aren’t playing on railway tracks.

With the longer days and warmer weather the BTP say they often see a rise in young people trespassing on the tracks and are worried someone will be seriously injured or killed.

They will be increasing their number of patrols over the summer to try and make sure no one is taking the risk of walking on the tracks.

To crack down on ‘route crime’ offences such as stone-throwing, putting obstructions in front of trains, trespassing and lineside vandalism, BTP officers will target hotspot locations during the holiday period.

Patrols will be increased throughout the holidays with high profile, high visibility and plain-clothed operations in targeted areas. CCTV will also be monitored at stations and throughout the rail network.

BTP Chief Inspector of Operations Derek O’Mara said: “During the holidays we traditionally see an increase in offences on the railway. We are hoping that by targeting hot spot areas and through the education work we have already done, we will reduce the number of incidents this summer and deter the majority of youngsters from playing of hanging around on the railways.

“We are also asking parents and adults to take responsibility and emphasise the dangers to your children, and if you live near the railway, ask yourself if you know where your children are playing?

“This is not about stopping children having fun – it is about keeping them safe from harm. BTP officers are all too often called to incidents where youngsters have been injured and in some cases killed because they were messing about on or near the railway and we do not want to have to tell any family that their son or daughter will not be coming home.”

As recently as July 16 a group of three youths were reported on the side of the track at Halifax railway station.

Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail, added: “We know the railway proves a tempting location to young people, especially during the good weather and school holidays. As well as causing delay to train services all too often this ends in tragedy. Our railway is incredibly busy and the trackside is a dirty and dangerous environment for anyone who is not trained to be there.

“Whatever the reason for trespassing, whether it’s a shortcut, boredom or anything else, it simply is not worth the risk. I ask parents to reinforce our safety message and to young people my message could not be clearer – please stay off the railway.”