UK & World News
Dozens Killed Taking Rail Track 'Shortcuts'
Network Rail has launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of taking a shortcut across lines after nearly 50 deaths in the last year.
The company has teamed up with British and World 400 metres hurdles champion Dai Greene to warn young men about the hazards.
Figures show 88% of accidental trespass deaths in the last 10 years were among men, with over a third aged 16-25.
Greene appears in an online video, part of the "Track Tests" campaign, in which he is set the challenge of running across a track. It is dark, there is grease on the line, obstacles are in his way and it is raining.
The footage is meant to show that if a fit, agile athlete used to jumping over hurdles at high speed is unable to get out of the way of a train travelling at 80mph, others will also fail.
Greene said: "Day in day out, I train hard to make sure I am as quick as I can be. On the running track it's important that my reactions are lightning fast but on the train track - during filming - that didn't count for much.
"The experience has brought to life just how many dangers there are on the rail tracks - most of which I knew nothing about. I hope that this film really helps Network Rail to show people that taking the risk is never worth it."
There were 445 recorded near misses between trespassers and trains last year.
People crossed the tracks after realising they were on the wrong platform, jumped down on to the tracks to collect phones or wallets, or walked alongside tracks to get home quicker.
Dyan Crowther, operational services director at Network Rail, said: "We know a lot of young men think, that taking a shortcut isn't really a risk, that they can get out of the way of any train but the fatality figures show they are wrong.
"Dai is one of the most fit and agile athletes in the world, someone that we know young men admire, particularly with the 2012 Games so close.
"His message and ours is simple - if he can't survive the shortcut, you won't either."
More than 200 people between the ages of 16 and 30 have been killed while trespassing on railway lines in the last 10 years.
Most trespasser deaths have occured on a Saturday between 10pm and 2am. Some 75 young people were killed at this time.