This month my blog is slightly different than normal as I want to mention the current campaign by Network Rail who manage the infrastructure of our railway lines in the UK and at the end the “Safer Travel Partnership”
If you follow any of the Train Operating Companies on Twitter you will know hardly a day goes by without one of them reporting that a person has been hit by a train or there are trespassers on the line. At least it causes inconvenience to passengers, disruption to services and in a lot of cases a unnecessary waste of emergency services resources .
There are unfortunate times when a railway worker is killed and that's why Network Rail insist that everyone working or have a requirement to go on the permanent way at times have to have a “Personal Track Safety Certificate” to prove they have undergone the appropriate training and examination to be fit to be trackside and this has to be done every two years. For non railway workers hit by a train it is not the train or the drivers fault and certainly not the train operating companies fault but the person who is hit.
However some passengers really have a go at the companies without thinking it through. Some maybe through frustration at yet another delay on our heavily used railway lines and some because they just don’t think. And many just do not even think about the train driver or the people who have to deal with the situation at ground level in dealing with the aftermath.
In my personal opinion there are two types people who get hit by a train. Those who deliberately do it as a way out from their troubles or unfortunately their mind is not what it used to be and those who are so downright stupid or do not think of the consequences of trains bearing down at them at speeds up to 125mph or more and the distance they travel in that time. If you haven’t seen the new video Network Rail video you can by clicking the image below
There is also some footage from a BBC news story from the Oxfordshire area
Is it really worth risking your own life and those of others if you drop something onto the railway or taking a shortcut across the tracks? I think not but as you can see from the clips some people think it is.
The railway today is a whole lot different to when the South Staffs Railway line was open, speeds are higher, more dangers about but the same can be said for the roads. Would these idiots suddenly run in front of a heavy truck coming towards them? Probably.
People can take responsibility for their actions but animals can’t and as you know only last week a Cross Country train on its way to Manchester from the South hit a dozen cows that had stampeded apparently onto the railway line through a damaged fence. Remarkably as the media and social media reports go the robustness of the train and the drivers swift actions prevented things from being worse than they were. Unfortunately there were some twitter users who kept saying it was a Virgin train that hit the cows without checking the facts but most people on twitter did spare a thought for the driver, crew and passengers.
British Transport Police who are responsible for policing the railway are regularly out in schools up and down the country highlighting the dangers of the modern high-speed railway and trying to get the message across to our younger people about the dangers of trespassing or taking risks on the rail. But there will be some who do not take heed or take leave of their senses for a short time endangering themselves or others.
And finally in the West Midlands if you didn't know already we have a “first of its kind” partnership between Centro, West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and Transport Operators make up the Safer Travel Partnership, which exists to make public transport in the West Midlands even safer. The partnership is called “Safer Travel Partnership” and the website http://www.safertravel.info/ gives more details of what their aims are.