: Waiting for next track...

: Waiting for next track...

'Alarming' figures reveal number of young people risking their lives on North Yorkshire's railways

'Alarming' figures reveal number of young people risking their lives on North Yorkshire's railways

Published at 12:06am 18th July 2018.

New figures reveal a four year high in the number of young people risking their lives on North Yorkshire's railways. 

British Transport Police has released the data as part of a national campaign to highlight the dangers of trespassing on railway lines. 

National figures also show that more than a quarter of teenagers (27%) confess to behaving in a way that could endanger their life on the railway. One in 10 teenagers admitted to walking along the railway line - more than two fifths of those (42%) in the last year.

In North Yorkshire, between April 2017 and April 2018 there 16 instances of young people trespassing. That's up from 10 cases in 2014/15. 

The rail industry and the British Transport Police have launched a new campaign - called 'You Vs Train', which targets teenagers to make them face the serious and devastating consequences for them and their loved ones when they make the potentially life-changing decision to ignore warnings and go onto the railway, with its obvious and hidden dangers. 

At the heart of the You Vs Train campaign is the story of Tom Hubbard - a young boy who suffered life-changing injuries in 2014 when he was electrocuted by the overhead power cables. Tom suffered third degree burns across 57% of his body and he has been left to deal with the serious physical and psychological consequences ever since.  A short film featuring Tom and his family will be  launched across social media and shown in cinemas throughout the summer. 

Tom explains:

"I woke up 11 days later in the burns unit at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital wrapped from head to toe in bandages, heavily medicated and unable to string a sentence together. I don't think I knew what was real and what wasn't. When the doctors and my mum came to speak to me a few days later, the enormity of what had happened finally hit me. They explained how lucky I was to be alive, but it was going to be a long road to recovery.

"Four years on I'm still affected by the events of that day and every time I look in the mirror I'm reminded by that one decision to go on the railway. The accident has made me more of an introvert and cautious of trying new things, often opting to stay in during the day to avoid people and wear hoodies and long-sleeved tops to hide my scars, even on hot days"

The new data also highlights some worrying seasonal peaks in the number of incidents, with the summer holidays seeing more than double the number of young risk takers, compared to the winter months.

Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, explains:

"Hundreds of people each year unintentionally take on the railway and lose. This year we have already seen a record number of young people losing their life or being injured on the track. 

"The railway is full of both obvious and hidden dangers. The electricity on the railway is always on and always dangerous. Trains can also travel up to 125 miles per hour, so even if a driver can see your child, they can't stop in time and they can't change direction. Parents - please help us keep your children safe by educating them about what they take on when they step on the track."

BTP Chief Superintendent Eddie Wylie said:

"We hope that by sharing Tom's story, young people who might have previously considered trespassing on the railways will think twice.

"We want his story to be heard - the tracks are not a playground. They're incredibly dangerous and, as Tom's story shows, can easily result in serious injury or worse.

"We hope the campaign will help young people to understand the risks, and help them to make the right decision and stay away from railway lines. Equally, it will also help them understand that bad decisions don't just affect them, but they will have a deep and lasting impact on their families and friends as well. This campaign is not just for our young people but also their friends and family."   

More news from across Harrogate, Craven and Wharfedale