Thousands of children are learning a potentially live saving lesson thanks to a partnership between Network Rail and professional football clubs across England.The partnership between Network Rail and The Football League Trust (FLT) involves 10 clubs working with Network Rail's community safety managers to boost awareness of railway safety. Using player ambassadors the clubs run fun sports and educational activity sessions with school children in their area that helps to reinforce the rail safety message.
Mike Evans Director of Operation at the Football League Trust, Comments, “Football clubs are at the heart of their communities in an emotional as well as physical sense. As such they have an incredible ability to reach people, where others may struggle. Our partnership with Network Rails shows how football can use this ability to talk to young people about a serious issue and make a positive difference to people’s lives.”
Tragically, 164 people lost their lives after going onto the tracks in the last five years. Of these, 70% were struck by trains with 18% suffering electrocution by coming into contact with the power supply which can be as much as 25,000 volts. The peak ages for trespass fatalities are late teens and earlier twenties, with around one in five deaths in this age group
The clubs involved are, Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Bristol City, Bristol Rovers, Derby County, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Notts County, Portsmouth and Shrewsbury Town
Shrewsbury Town player ambassador Ashley Vincent comment, “Too many children sadly lose their lives or get injured every year on the by trespassing on the tracks. Tragically these incidents are avoidable and so it’s great to be involved in helping to get a positive message to young people that might save their lives”.
The initiative is a development of Network Rail's 'Rail Life programme which has successfully worked with schools and community groups to get across safety messages in fun and engaging ways.
Stephanie Brizs, safety improvement specialist for Network said: "Every day around 24,500 trains run across the network and it's getting busier with modern, quieter trains travelling up to 125mph.
"We know of too many incidents where seemingly harmless pranks or games along the tracks have resulted in painful injury or even death. The Football League Trust and the clubs involved can help us raise awareness of the dangers and engage kids in something much more positive. The results will be a safer community and better running railway for all."