THE railway track between Newcastle and Darlington is one of the worst affected areas in the entire country for trespass, shocking new figures have this week revealed.

The stretch of track on the East Coast mainline has seen 95 incidents of railway trespass alone in the past year - the equivalent of more than two per month.

The figures, which have been released by Network Rail, come as LNER has found more than a third of North East 12 to 17-year-olds know somebody who has trespassed.

LNER found that some of the reasons behind trespass included a social media trend of taking "selfies" in a dangerous place for social media.

The Northern Echo:

Looking into the reasons behind trespass in the region, it said boredom during lockdown (17 percent), following the social media trend of taking a selfie in a dangerous place for social media (16 percent), and being peer-pressured by friends (16 percent) were among the most likely reasons.

Despite the dangers, the study also found that shockingly, almost a quarter (24 percent) of young people in the North East had never spoken to their parents or guardians about the dangers before, while worryingly a further 63 percent cited that they do not feel the need to discuss them.

A concerning lack of conversation around the topic was evident.

Although half of 12-17-year-olds (50 percent) in the North East would like the dangers of railway track trespassing to be spoken about more openly to them, 22 percent of parents and guardians had never spoken to them about it, with 63 percent reasoning that it does not cross their mind to.

Warrick Dent, Safety and Operations Director at LNER, warned that trespass is a "very real threat" which he said more needs to be done to educate people of the risks.

He said: “As lockdown restrictions come to an end and the school holidays begin, it’s our aim to do as much as we can to protect our customers, colleagues, and communities from trespassing incidents on our route.

As a parent, I completely understand that sometimes there are other topics which take precedence, but the numbers show how crucial a discussion about railway track trespassing is.

”Railway track trespassing is a very real threat which needlessly kills those who risk their lives, and our research identified that more needs to be done to educate people and encourage open conversations between parents, guardians, and their children.

“Children are set to spend more time at home during the summer holidays and often are at risk of boredom, therefore we hope our installation makes parents stop and think, prompting them to speak to their children of the dangers of trespassing on the railway and in turn preventing the loss of lives.”

The Northern Echo: Picture: LNERPicture: LNER

As a result of its findings, LNER has installed a thought-provoking installation in a North East shopping centre this week, hoping to raise awareness.

‘The Waiting Room’ is a set of an empty child’s bedroom which has been hastily left and never returned to due to the loss of life – a visual depiction of the life-threatening impact of railway track trespassing.

The Northern Echo: Picture: LNERPicture: LNER

On display to the public from now until August 3 at Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle, LNER said it is designed to make shoppers stop and stare and force them to acknowledge the inherent dangers.

The data released by Network Rail also showed that young people are most likely to risk their lives with 25 percent of fatal cases tragically under-18.

Despite it being illegal, an average of two people trespassing on the railway every hour, with perpetrators who are caught facing a £1,000 fine.

If you are in need of support you can contact the following:

- Samaritans ar available, day or night, 365 days of the year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at, or visit to find your nearest branch.

- If U Care Share on 0191 387 5661 or text IUCS to 85258

- SANE on 07984 967 708, Calm on 0800 58 58 58

- Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust crisis line 0800 0516 171.


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