Transport bosses have urged people to stop risking their lives by trespassing on rail tracks – after alarming figures were released.
Data compiled by Network Rail and British Transport Police have revealed that more people than ever are dicing with death in the North East.
Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or deathHayley Bull
Last year saw a 22% rise in rail track trespassing in the region, with 313 incidents reported.
Incidents peaked during school holiday time, with young people more likely to take the risk, according to the research.
Hayley Bull, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “As the railway gets busier and we electrify more lines to improve services, we must work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers.
“It may seem harmless to take a short cut, or fun to play on the tracks, but this is not only illegal, it is also very dangerous. Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.”
A schools engagement programme has been launched by Network Rail, aiming to teach children about the dangers.
Inspector Brian Buddo, from British Transport Police in Newcastle, said: “We cover thousands of miles of track and we cannot tackle this issue alone. That is why we are urging parents and young people to heed this warning and take a reality check when it comes to trespass. It’s not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real-life consequences.”
Officers from BTP have recently educating children in about the dangers of trespassing on the railway as part of an annual safety campaign run by Nexus Metro.