Danger to life warnings after spike in children trespassing on region's railway tracks

The railway industry is warning young people in the North East of the dangers of trespassing on railway tracks after research revealed over a third of 12-17 year olds in the region admitted to knowing someone who has done it – with lockdown boredom and a shocking selfie trend partly to blame.  

The Newcastle and Darlington route is one of the worst affected areas for railway track trespassing in the UK – with 95 incidents alone in the past year – an average of two per week.

The new figures from London North East Rail (LNER) follow data released by Network Rail showing a significant increase in incidents over the past year, with some routes reporting up to a 138% spike.

Boredom, selfies, peer pressure

Of the 12-17 year olds surveyed:

‘The Waiting Room’ In an effort to drive home the message, LNER has set up 'The Waiting Room' display in Eldon Square shopping centre.

It is a representation of an empty child’s bedroom that has been hastily left and never returned to due to the loss of life – a visual depiction of the life-threatening impact of railway track trespassing.

Credit: LNER

On display to the public from 28 July to 3 August, it is designed to make shoppers stop and think, thereby encouraging them to acknowledge the inherent dangers of railway trespassing.

A warning to parents

Despite the dangers, the study commissioned by LNER also found that almost a quarter 24% of young people in the North East had never spoken to their parents or guardians about the dangers before.

Warrick Dent, Safety and Operations Director at LNER says he would like families to speak more openly about the problem.

The data released by Network Rail also showed that young people are most likely to risk their lives with 25% of fatal cases tragically under-18.

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.