The Last Word

25.09.17

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Source: RTM Aug/Sep 17

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme.

Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, CrossCountry and the Scouts have come together to encourage Britain’s younger generations to be safe and understand more of the potential dangers when on or near the railway. The two organisations have developed educational materials for the Cub Scouts’ 150,000 members aged 7-10 available to view at xc-hub.co.uk, helping them understand these dangers and how to act responsibly and safely. Completion of these will help the Cubs Scouts achieve their Personal Safety Badge – one of the most popular badges in Scouting. 

The partnership was launched at Birmingham New Street station in July, where local Cub Scouts along with representatives from CrossCountry, British Transport Police (BTP) and Network Rail were joined by Paralympic multi-medallist Simon Munn, who tragically lost his leg after an accident on the railway. A video of the launch is available at the XC-Hub website and has now been watched over three million times. 

Raising awareness 

Speaking about the importance of keeping safe on the railways, Munn commented: “Railways can be a dangerous place and not a playground. We’re all responsible for keeping young people and those who live or work near the railway safe, so we must do all we can to raise awareness of how to stay safe on the railway. 

“We must work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers that exist. Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or even death.” 

CrossCountry’s managing director, Andrew Cooper, added that Safety on the railways is the company’s top priority, so “we’re delighted to be able to work with the Scouts Association to help our nation’s children understand the dangers of not being safe and responsible”. 

The BTP stated that keeping young people safe is a priority for the organisation and it is doing everything it can to prevent them from coming to harm on the railway, including patrolling trespass hotspots and going into schools to warn of the dangers. 

“However, we cannot tackle this issue alone and we are always keen to support any initiatives aimed at reducing trespass,” added the BTP. “We hope the Personal Safety Badge will help youngsters spread this important safety message within their communities and stop children risking their lives on the tracks.” 

Once Cub Scout Packs have completed their personal Safety Badges, Scout Leaders can access a directory of industry partners who are available to arrange station visits and, where appropriate, to help Scout groups look at ‘adopting’ a local station. 

Experience has shown that when young people are more closely involved with the railway, they are less likely to commit antisocial acts such as vandalism, as they take a personal pride in their local station.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

W: www.xc-hub.co.uk

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