Youth rail trespassing in Ipswich doubles in four years

Trespass footage of a young boy close to the rail line. Picture: NETWORK RAIL/BTP

Trespass footage of a young boy close to the rail line. Picture: NETWORK RAIL/BTP - Credit: Archant

The number of young people dicing with death by trespassing on railway lines in Ipswich has doubled in the last four years, shocking new figures have shown.

Statistics released by Network Rail showed that in 2014-15, 22 youths risked their lives on the tracks – compared with 42 in 2017-18.

The firm, which is responsible for managing Britain’s railways, has seen similar rises mirrored elsewhere across the country – and has therefore launched the You Vs Train campaign with the British Transport Police to warn teenagers of the life-threatening risks.

Richard Tew, Network Rail’s head of safety for Anglia, said: “The railway is full of both obvious and hidden dangers including the electricity, which is always on and always incredibly dangerous.

“Trains travel up to 100mph, so even if a driver can see your child they can’t stop in time and they can’t change direction.

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“As a father I’m urging all parents in the region to help us keep your children safe by sharing our campaign with them so they know what they are taking on if they step on the track.”

A survey of young people in the Anglia region showed that the lack of knowledge about the potential dangers seems to be why children choose the tracks as a good place to take risks, with only just over a fifth – 21% – believing that the railway is extremely dangerous.

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Only 14% ranked retrieving their phone from the track as a high risk, while 11% admitted that they had walked along the railway tracks in the past.

Over a quarter – 27% – do not think the electricity from overhead cables would be powerful enough to kill someone walking along the track, while nearly a fifth, 19%, thought it was legal to walk along the tracks.

BTP assistant chief constable Robin Smith said: “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.”

The rail industry is also working together to roll out a new schools engagement programme, where community engagement managers from across Network Rail, British Transport Police and train operating companies will be out teaching thousands of children about railway safety.

BTP officers will also be stepping up patrols across the country.

For more information about the campaign, visit

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