Railway authorities are warning of a 'dangerous' trend in which people take photos on train tracks for social media posts
- A CCTV image of a toddler on train tracks has been released by Network Rail to raise awareness.
- 433 serious incidents on train tracks in Wales have occurred since the start of the pandemic.
- They say hashtags like #railwayphotography and #railwayshoot have been used 1 million times.
A CCTV image of a toddler being placed on train tracks in Gwynned, North Wales has been released by authorities to raise awareness of "extremely dangerous" behavior around train tracks for social media posts.
Network Rail, which owns most of Britain's railway infrastructure, released images that show groups of people taking selfies at level crossings and even lying down on train tracks in order to take part in what they describe as a growing "railway photography" social media trend.
According to Network Rail, this trend involves taking a selfie or video on train tracks or on a level crossing before the train arrives. They estimate that hashtags like #railphotography and #railwayshoot have been used by one million users cumulatively across
In Wales alone, Network Rail reported that there have been 433 serious incidents since the start of the pandemic, which they say occurred as a result of people trying to create social media content on train tracks.
In a statement released by Network Rail, Jody Donnelly, train driver at Transport for Wales said, "Over the years, myself and many of my colleagues ― from within station, driver and conductor roles ― have had to deal with hundreds of frightening and sometimes tragic occurrences at level crossings."
He added, "People seem to think that the worst won't happen to them ― but if you're caught short at a level crossing, it simply isn't true. Unlike cars, trains can take hundreds of meters to stop when traveling at top-speed, meaning that a decision to nip across the tracks can be fatal."
Following the spate of railway incidents in Wales, Network Rail, Transport Wales, and British Transport Police have teamed up to launch a safety campaign called At What Cost.
Designed to raise awareness of the consequences of taking risks on train tracks, the campaign includes targeted advertising on TikTok, Instagram, and Spotify as well as a short film.
"I have no doubt that our campaign will help to save lives this summer ― and with this, I hope it will allow myself and my team to rest a little easier," Donnellayadded. "Knowing that despite rising social media trends, our customers are educated on the very real dangers of level crossings."
Ronnie Gallagher, Route Level Crossing Manager at Network Rail said in a statement, "Our campaign has been designed to complement our priorities of risk management, education, and enforcement ― all while encouraging people in Wales to consider the true cost of taking a risk at a level crossing."
Richard Powell, Inspector at British Transport Police told Network Rail, said, "Messing around on level crossings ― including lingering to take photos ― is illegal and extremely dangerous. You could be taken to court and face a £1,000 fine.
"Trains approach almost silently, so if you're distracted, you won't notice until it's too late. Take care around level crossings. No photograph is worth the risk to you or the consequences for your family and any bystanders."
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