Hundreds of east Londoners risking lives around Stratford rail tracks
PUBLISHED: 14:04 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:04 18 July 2018
An east Londoner risks their life by trespassing on railway lines every three days, new figures reveal.
British Transport Police (BTP) dealt with 444 trespassing incidents in the last four years across the Stratford rail sector, including 39 by children aged under 18.
They say the number of young people endangering their lives on the tracks has shot up 80 per cent nationwide since 2014/15.
Seven youngsters lost their lives and a further 48 received life-changing injuries near lines in England, Scotland and Wales in the last year alone, according to BTP.
BTP and the rail industry on Wednesday launched the You Vs Train campaign to warn teenagers of the life-threatening dangers.
“Hundreds of people each year unintentionally take on the railway and lose,” said Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, who manage Britain’s train lines.
“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.”
Across the Stratford sector, 96 trespassing incidents were reported in 2017/18, down from 126 in 2014/15.
The region logged the fourth highest total of these incidents in London since 2014/15, following Inner London (2,281), Liverpool Street (1,036) and Southend (495).
Rail authorities divide the capital into nine sectors to gather and track statistics. The Inner London zone covers land south of the River Thames with other sectors radiating out of central London like lines on a dart board.
“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,” said BTP assistant chief constable Robin Smith.
“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.”