Children in primary schools across the south and south west of England are to take the lead in educating classmates about staying safe on the railway. The Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance is launching the railway safety reps programme across the route which runs from London Waterloo out to the south coast and south west England.
Primary schools will nominate children to learn about how to stay safe when using level crossings and the dangers of trespassing on the railway and will then share their new knowledge with their friends.
The programme will complement Network Rail’s ongoing safety campaigns and continued efforts to improve safety and reduce the number of incidents involving children and young people.
It will be officially launched by the alliance at Buriton Primary School, near Petersfield, on Friday.
The school has a busy railway line running nearby which links London with Portsmouth and the children have already shown a keen interest in learning about railway safety.
Ellie Reilly, community safety manager for the Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance, said: “The railway safety reps programme is a great way of working with young people to educate them about how to stay safe on the railway. Working with British Transport Police, we have developed a resource which fits in with the national curriculum and allows schools to deliver their own railway safety message throughout the year.
“Each school nominates young people to be their railway safety reps and they then pass their knowledge on to their friends in assemblies, the classroom and through a railway safety noticeboard which they maintain themselves. British Transport Police volunteers will act as mentors and we hope to sign up as many schools across the south and south east of England as possible.”
British Transport Police school’s liaison officer, PC Graham Cottington, said: “This is an exciting approach to educating children on the dangers of the railway, and our BTP volunteers are looking forward to undertaking their role as mentors. The railways are not a playground and should not be treated as such. Anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to stray onto the tracks should think again.”
To mark the launch, the Network Rail inspection helicopter will be visiting Buriton Primary School (weather dependant) on Friday 9 November. It will be joined by members of the Wessex route’s maintenance teams and officers from British Transport Police who will explain what they do to keep the railway safe.
To complement the launch, the school will be holding a railway safety day and there will be various railway maintenance vehicles on show. The children will be able to see first hand what equipment is used to maintain the railway and have explained to them the dangers posed if they trespass on the railway or misuse level crossings.