Doncaster parents urged to keep their children safe as figures reveal number of youngsters playing on railways is at four year high

Tom Hubbard suffered third degree burns across 57 per cent of his body in 2014 when he trespassed on railway lines and was electrocuted by the overhead power cables.
Tom Hubbard suffered third degree burns across 57 per cent of his body in 2014 when he trespassed on railway lines and was electrocuted by the overhead power cables.

The number of young people risking their lives on Doncaster's railways is at an four year high, new figures have revealed.

In the last year, 34 of Doncaster's young people confess to behaving in a way that could endanger their life on the railway, according to figures released today by the British Transport Police. In the same period, 160 adults admitted to behaving in the same way.

This is an increase of over 22 per cent on 2016/2017, when 27 young people acted in the same manner. In the same year, 107 adults also risked their lives on Doncaster's railways.

In 2015/2016 33 young people trespassed on the rail lines, along with 149 adults. In 2014/2015, 26 children did the same and 124 adults.

As a result, the rail industry and the British Transport Police have launched a new campaign called ‘You Vs Train’, which is aimed at teenagers and highlights the potentially serious and life-changing consequences of going on the railway.

At the heart of the You Vs Train campaign is the story of Tom Hubbard, a young boy who suffered life-changing injuries in 2014 when he went on the railway and was electrocuted by the overhead power cables.

Tom suffered third degree burns across 57 per cent of his body and he has been left to deal with the serious physical and psychological consequences ever since.

A short film featuring Tom and his family will be launched across social media and shown in cinemas throughout the summer.

Tom said: “I woke up 11 days later in the burns unit wrapped from head to toe in bandages, heavily medicated and unable to string a sentence together.

"I don’t think I knew what was real and what wasn’t. When the doctors and my mum came to speak to me a few days later, the enormity of what had happened finally hit me. They explained how lucky I was to be alive, but it was going to be a long road to recovery.

“Four years on I’m still affected by the events of that day and every time I look in the mirror I’m reminded by that one decision to go on the railway. The accident has made me more of an introvert and cautious of trying new things, often opting to stay in during the day to avoid people and wear hoodies and long-sleeved tops to hide my scars, even on hot days.”

Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, urged young people to think about the hidden dangers of the railway and issued a plea to parents to make their children aware of the campaign.

He said: “Hundreds of people each year unintentionally take on the railway and lose. This year we have already seen a record number of young people losing their life or being injured on the track.

“The railway is full of both obvious and hidden dangers. The electricity on the railway is always on and always dangerous. Trains can also travel up to 125 miles per hour, so even if a driver can see your child, they can’t stop in time and they can’t change direction.

Parents - please help us keep your children safe by educating them about what they take on when they step on the track.”

To watch Tom’s video and find out how to keep your children safe on the railway this summer visit: www.YouVsTrain.co.uk