Network Rail have released a new video called “Shattered Lives”, in a bid to raise awareness on how railway trespassing can cause devastating, lifelong, and potentially fatal consequences.
Seven-time Paralympian, Simon Munn, MBE, features in the film after losing his leg in a railway accident, following trying to take a shortcut home by walking across the track.
Although he was able to rebuild his life as an athlete, Simon considers himself as one of the lucky ones, following the events that took place that one fateful night.
The Paralympian explained “if you’re thinking about taking a shortcut home by trespassing across the tracks like I did, then there’s only one winner. You can’t mess about with a 400-tonne machine and think that you can get away with it. I was very lucky that I only came away with losing my leg.”
He continued, “I’m incredibly proud of my career as a Paralympian, but that night 31 years-ago was a massive reality check. The outcome of my actions irreversibly changed my life and I regret the pain that I put my family through and the driver of the train.”
Since April last year, over 700 people have put their lives at risk trespassing on Northwest rail routes.
The numbers have been released by Network Rail and British Transport Police as part of the ‘You vs Train” campaign, in a survey which included 2,000 participants, to expose the life-threatening risks of railway trespass this summer.
Over the last 3 years, more than 150 adults have either been seriously injured or sadly lost their lives due to trespassing on Britain’s rail network.
Chris Mclaughlin, Community Safety Manager in the Northwest for Network Rail, said “you cannot put a price on personal safety. Every time someone strays onto the tracks, they are placing themselves at risk of serious, life-changing injury or worse.”
He added, “the effects of the actions can be devastating, not only for them, but their loved ones and the wider community. We want everyone to know and understand that stepping on the track shatters lives. Please don’t take risks. Don’t leave the people around you to pick up the pieces.”
Although typically regarded as a youth problem, 75% of trespassers are in fact adults, and their reasons for wandering onto the track include taking shortcuts and retrieving dropped items.
According to the national survey, 18% of people from the Northwest confessed that they were willing to put their lives on the line to climb and retrieve everyday objects such as a mobile phone and a purse or wallet, if they were thought to have been dropped on the track.
Superintendent Alison Evans, British Transport Police said “unfortunately, every summer we see a rise in trespass incidents. This summer, please remember that stepping onto the railway at any time is dangerous and illegal.”
He continued, “accessing the tracks as a shortcut or to retrieve a personal possession you’ve dropped will have consequences that stay with you and those around you for life. Don’t let a moment of impatience ruin everything, it’s just not worth it.”