You Vs Train

18 July 2018

BTP and Network Rail are launching a campaign today in response to new figures that reveal a teenager risks their life on railway tracks every four hours.

Hundreds of people every year are unintentionally killed or left with life-changing injuries after being hit by an unexpected train or the electric current in rails and power lines. The number of young people taking risks on the railway track has gone up by almost 80 per cent in the last five years². 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 life changing injuries. 


25,000 volts: The power running through overhead railway lines is 100 times stronger than the supply at home. Electricity is the most dangerous factor in stepping on the track – it’s always switched on and people don’t realise it can jump – so you don’t even need to touch a cable to be seriously injured.


150 tonnes of train:  You can’t outrun a train and even if you could, you wouldn’t hear it coming: Today’s trains can almost silently reach speeds of 125mph. Trains run 24 hours a day, so even if you think it’s a ‘quiet time’, there are thousand tonne freight trains running all night.  And don’t think that keeping to one side of the track will keep you safe because trains are all wider than the rails. Even if a driver can see you, they can't stop in time and they can't change direction.


The electrified third rail:  The third rail looks just like an ordinary rail, but it carries 750 volts of direct current that will attract rather than repel you. If you touch the rail, you will “stick” to it.


The only way to avoid these dangers is not to step on the track.


The aim of this campaign is to convince young people to stay away from railway lines by educating them about the risks and correcting misconceptions:

  • 15% think that it’s safe to walk on the railway track if you check a timetable to make sure there are no trains coming
  • Almost a fifth (17%) think that getting a dropped/lost item (e.g. phone or football) from the railway track is relatively safe as long as you leave again straight away
  • A fifth (20%) don’t think that the overhead cables on a railway are dangerous
  • Almost a fifth (18%) think that there is no risk of being electrocuted unless you touch the main rail track or overhead power cable 
  • Just under a third (31%) don’t believe that severe burns as a result of electrocution is a risk you might face if you go on the railway tracksThe rail industry is also working to roll out a new schools engagement programme, where community engagement managers from across Network Rail, British Transport Police (BTP) and Train Operating Companies will be out teaching thousands of children about railway safety.
  • A fifth of the teenagers surveyed in Wales admitted they went on the tracks to take a picture or have their photo taken.


To find out more about the campaign visit: 

   elec   track    train

Back »

By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies. For more information please refer to ASLEF’s Privacy Policy