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York School Children Learn About Rail Dangers

children rail safety 020514

3:48pm 2nd May 2014

East Coast has been educating children in York about the need to stay clear of the tracks.

East Coast invited youngsters from Poppleton Road Primary School in York to the city’s railway station today to hear about rail safety at first hand.

Each year lives are lost due to trespass incidents on the railway, with many due to a lack of awareness of the dangers that exist on the track. . In 2012, there were over 8,000 trespass incidents in the UK directly resulting in almost 1,200 near misses and more than 40 fatalities. Apart from the tragic loss of life, trespassing and accidents delay thousands of passengers and impose considerable costs on the rail industry.

Today’s Rail Safety Day, organised with British Transport Police and Network Rail, was aimed at ensuring the message to stay away from the railway was clearly understood by all the schoolchildren who took part.

Key facts explained to the youngsters, from Year 4 at the school, included:
• The UK has one of the busiest rail networks in the world with over three million passenger journeys being made every day
• Modern intercity trains are relatively quiet, extremely fast and on an average weigh over 4,000 tonnes each
• When travelling at full speed, an intercity express train takes just seven seconds to travel a quarter of a mile, and over 1.24 miles to come to a stop
• 40% of the rail network is now electrified, with power rated 1,000 times higher than that supplied to a typical home. More railway lines are being electrified, with the network expected to rise 25% by 2020.

East Coast Duty Station Manager Steve Soards said: “According to recent statistics, around 20% of trespassing incidents involve children, with children as young as five being found playing on the tracks. Areas created for the travelling public such as stations, platforms, level crossings and footbridges are safe but if children go into areas they are not supposed to, if they don’t realise the hazards around them, they could put themselves in serious danger.

“East Coast takes great pride in its attitude towards safety and we are also working to support local communities on our route. This involves working closely with partners to promote railway safety on the route with local schools.”

Today's Rail Safety Day was been created as part of East Coast’s Future Leader Programme, a 12-month initiative which offers its staff mentoring, leadership and development opportunities. A key part of the programme focuses on community projects and highlights safety issues.

Poppleton Road Primary School Acting Deputy Head Ellie Gembles said: “We firmly believe that if we educate children on the potential dangers of the railway then they will carry these lessons into later life and this can have a lasting impact on the way that they treat the railway.

“To demonstrate what the children have learnt, we will take them with producing a poster which highlights a safety issue from the workshop which will be displayed at York Station.

“The day’s activities have been created by East Coast’s Future Leaders programme in conjunction with Poppleton Road Primary using the national curriculum where possible.

“Each activity has been carefully developed to ensure to ensure it conveys the correct message relating to safety and the railway while at the same time being fun and engaging for the children.”

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