Shocking footage shows children dicing with death on railway lines in Ipswich
Children are among growing numbers of people putting their lives in danger by trespassing on rail tracks in Suffolk.
Alarming new figures from Network Rail and British Transport Police reveal more people than ever before are dicing with death by walking on the tracks.
The data, which looks at trends over the last five years, shows trespass incidents are at an all-time high across East Anglia.
In Ipswich, there were around 130 incidents on rail tracks – a 22% rise on the previous year.
Nationally, one person trespasses on the railway every hour.
New research shows youngsters are more likely to take a risk, with seasonal peaks coinciding with school holidays.
Network Rail’s head of safety for the Anglian region, Richard Tew, said: “Every April we see a huge rise in the number of people taking a risk on the rail network and it’s worrying that these numbers seem to be going up.
“As the railway gets busier we must work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers.
“It may seem harmless to take a shortcut, 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.”
Reacting to the seasonal surge and to crackdown on the problem of younger people trespassing, both companies are rolling out a school engagement programme to more than 100 schools across Britain. The initiative aims to teach children in trespass hotspots like Ipswich, about railway safety.
Last year more than 61 children were caught trespassing by police in East Anglia – with boys aged 14 to 16 being stopped the most.
Inspector Steve Webster from BTP in East Anglia said: “We believe the number of children we encounter trespassing every year is sadly, just the tip of the iceberg.
“Every single day we are called to the tracks because a train driver has had to sound their horn or apply their emergency brake in a desperate bid to avoid youths on the line, who then run off, seemingly unaware of the danger they have put themselves in.
He added: “It’s not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real-life consequences.”