Rail groups unite to keep kids off tracks post-lockdown

railNetwork Rail and British Transport Police have joined forces to pre-empt a post-lockdown surge in the number of trespass incidents across the rail network, particularly among teenagers, with the launch of a new “You vs Train” film.

Devised by 23red, the Parallel Lines spot is drawn from the experiences of those affected by trespass, told from two very different perspectives, and is designed to bring that cost to life for a young audience and highlight that one mistake can affect many lives.

Trespassing on the railway can have devastating consequences – the most obvious being life-changing, potentially fatal injuries and prosecution. But there is another hidden cost in the effects on the trespasser, their loved ones, railway staff and the wider community.

The “You vs Train” campaign first launched in 2018, to raise awareness about the dangers of trespassing, change attitudes and reduce the likelihood of future incidents.

The new activity is designed to prevent a repetition of last year’s 40% rise in trespass triggered by the lifting of the Covid lockdown in July 2020.

‘Parallel Lines’ will be shown on Crimewatch Live and will be streamed into schools this month as part of a rail safety broadcast by Network Rail’s education partner – LearnLive. The film is also being supported by a social media campaign, and outdoor activity, as well as support from former EastEnders and Loose Women star Nadia Sawalha to encourage parents to have the conversation with their children about the dangers of trespass.

The film was created in conjunction with production company Oliver’s Island, who developed the script with input from young people from Lewisham Youth Theatre. It was shot over three days last summer in Melton Mowbray and London.

Network Rail senior media campaigns manager Donna Mitchell said: “We saw a shocking increase in youth trespass incidents after the first national lockdown, and as current lockdown restrictions ease this powerful film is crucial to get children to consider the devastating consequences of their actions. Parallel Lines highlights the impact that trespass can have not only on the trespasser and their loved ones, but the wider, sometimes hidden harm caused to others.”

23red creative director Tristan Cavanagh added: “This is a different story to traditional trespass campaigns and one our young audience won’t have seen before. Whilst most dramatise death or injury, our trespasser survives unharmed. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a cost, and it’s that story we wanted to tell through a really simple but effective creative construct. So, while we hear about trespass from the point of view of our young protagonist Dean, we get to see the devastating real-world consequences to our driver and his family.”

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