How can I en­sure my kids un­der­stand the dan­gers of play­ing on rail­ways ?

Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - Family Matters -

Q

WE’VE just moved to a house back­ing onto a rail­way line. What ad­vice should I give to my chil­dren about the dan­gers of go­ing near the tracks?

A

RYAN Ack­er­man, Net­work Rail com­mu­nity safety

man­ager, says: “If there’s one piece of ad­vice you should give to your chil­dren, it’s that the rail­way is full of both ob­vi­ous and hid­den dan­gers, so the only way to make sure they stay com­pletely safe is to stay off the tracks. Chil­dren shouldn’t be scared to use the rail­way but they do need to un­der­stand that if they’re on the tracks, they’re on dan­ger­ous ground.

“Re­search by Net­work Rail and the Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice found that, wor­ry­ingly, more than a quar­ter of teenagers con­fess to be­hav­ing in a way that could en­dan­ger their life on the rail­way. The num­ber of young peo­ple tak­ing risks on the rail­way track has gone up by al­most 80% in the last five years – and in the last 12 months alone, seven young peo­ple un­der the age of 18 have lost their lives and a fur­ther 48 peo­ple have re­ceived lifechang­ing in­juries.

“The re­search also shows chil­dren are un­aware of the dan­gers posed when go­ing on the rail­way.”

Elec­tric­ity is eas­ily the most dan­ger­ous fac­tor in step­ping on the track: 25,000 volts of

elec­tric­ity can jump from over­head ca­bles with­out a per­son touch­ing them. It’s al­ways switched on and nine out of 10 peo­ple die when they’re struck by it, the rest re­ceiv­ing life-chang­ing in­juries.

“Trains can also silently reach speeds of 125mph and they run 24 hours a day. The elec­tri­fied third rail is also dan­ger­ous – it looks just like an or­di­nary rail, but it car­ries 750 volts of di­rect cur­rent that will at­tract you.

“If you touch the rail, you’ll ‘stick’ to it.

“I would en­cour­age you and your chil­dren to watch the new film by Net­work Rail & the Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice. The film was de­vel­oped as part of the YouVsTrain (YouVsTrain co.uk) tres­pass-preven­tion cam­paign and doc­u­ments the real-life story of Tom Hubbard, who re­ceived a mas­sive shock from over­head ca­bles on the rail­way when he was just 14, leav­ing him with life-chang­ing in­juries.”

18 peo­ple have died on our rail­ways in the last year alone

Warn­ing: Net­work Rail’s Ryan Ack­er­man Richard Irvine’s col­umn re­turns next week

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