Published on : Thursday, December 8, 2016
Christmas partygoers across Wales and the borders are being advised to take extra care this festive season after Network Rail revealed a 25% increase in alcohol related incidents across the UK rail network in December, compared to the beginning of the year¹.
As a result Network Rail, British Transport Police and RSSB have joined forces to urge partygoers to take extra care when travelling on or around the railway. Events will be hosted at Wales’ busiest stations to promote awareness of the dangers of alcohol on or around the railway, at Swansea station on Friday, 9 December and at Cardiff Central station on Wednesday, 14 December.
Stewart McIlroy, the community safety manager at Network Rail Wales, said: “The majority will have a few drinks over the festive season and we do not want anyone’s festive spirit being ruined by an incident that could have been prevented. The railway can be a dangerous place and after a few drinks people can take unnecessary risks.
Taking risks at level crossings, using the track as a shortcut or running across the platform onto trains, could result in serious life threatening injuries or worse. We are asking passengers and those that live near the railway to keep a clear head and enjoy a safe festive season.”
Data collected by the Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB) over the last 10 years also shows that on average, in the UK, there are more incidents reported involving intoxication in December than any other month.
There are over 1,000 level crossings in Wales and Network Rail is issuing a warning to those who live near or may be out near these level crossings. During this time of year people may be visiting family and friends in areas they are unfamiliar with, and with many crossings located within a mile of pubs and clubs it is important that people take extra care and remain aware of their surroundings. Passengers should also be careful when around the platform edge after having a drink, with 25 people killed in the UK due to alcohol related incidents and a further 82 people seriously injured over the last 10 years.
According to British Transport Police, there is also a rise in violence at many of the busiest stations over the festive season, much of which is fuelled by people drinking excess alcohol. Between 24 November 2015 and 2 January 2016, the number of violent offences reported at railway stations across England, Scotland and Wales increased by 8% compared with the same period in 2014/15. At least one in 10 of those offences involved alcohol.