CCTV footage shows cases of trespass on Network Rail routes across the South.
Shocking new footage has been released by Network Rail which shows people risking their lives at level crossings in the South.
With the school summer holidays approaching, there's a warning that trespassing on the railways is becoming more frequent.
Across the rail network in England, Wales and Scotland, there were 18,517 incidents, 20% of which (around 3,700) involved people under the age of 18 - in the last financial year (2022/23).
In Kent, there has been a 15% increase in cases compared to the last financial year, with 1,766 trespass incidents.
In Wessex, there were 1,556 trespass incidents and in Sussex there were 1,152 cases in the last financial year.
Where are the trespass hotspots in the South?
These figures have been released by Network Rail as part of the You vs Train campaign to highlight the dangers of railway trespass this summer.
This year marks the sixth anniversary of the death of Harrison Ballantyne, who was electrocuted while trying to retrieve a football from the railway.
The 11-year-old was struck by 25,000 volts of electricity after trespassing into a rail freight yard more than a mile away from his home.
Though last year saw a drop in the number of trespass incidents involving young people, overall trespass numbers remain too high – almost one for every mile of track in the country - and are yet to drop to the levels recorded in the pre-Covid years.
Across Network Rail’s Kent route, trains are powered by either 25,000 volt overhead cables or the third rail which contains 750 volts – easily enough to kill or seriously injure – and is on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
As part of this campaign Harrison’s mother – Liz Ballantyne – has joined forces with Network Rail and the BTP to ask that parents and carers talk to their children about the dangers present on the railway, as a matter of priority, as the school holidays begin.
The last day of Harrison Ballantyne's life has been turned into a new video campaign:
Ms Ballantyne said: “The summer holidays should be about freedom and I always encouraged Harrison to go out and have adventures. I taught him about “stranger danger” and to be careful around water, but I just hadn’t realised that I needed to teach him about rail safety as there was no railway station near our village. I learnt of its importance too late, but I don’t want others to suffer as I have. Please sit down with your children and loved ones and talk to them about the dangers present around the railway so they know how to keep themselves safe whilst they are out having fun.”
Sophie Wright, Network Rail’s Kent route crime and security manager, said: "We’re committed to ensuring the safety of our passengers, staff and the public when using the railway and trespass poses a clear and obvious danger with the possibility of resulting in life changing if not fatal consequences.
"It’s important to remember that some of the dangers on the railway aren’t always visible. Trains across our Kent route are powered by overhead electrical cables or the third rail – both of which carry more than enough electricity to kill or seriously injure and are always on 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
BTP Superintendent Alison Evans added: "As the summer holidays approach we urge parents and carers of young people to talk about trespass and rail safety and warn them of the dangers of straying onto the railway.
"We continue to share Harrison's story in the hope that it will resonate with others and make a difference.
"The rail network can be a deadly place; trespassing can result in devastating injuries or death. Please spread the word to stay off the tracks - it could just save a life."