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Published on : Thursday, November 24, 2016
Christmas should be a time of year when everyone can enjoy themselves and have fun. But for some festive revellers it can spell danger, as new figures from Network Rail show that alcohol related incidents during the festive period across the Anglia rail network nearly doubled last year.
Figures reveal that between 24 November 2015 and 2 January 2016 there were 15 alcohol related incidents, compared to eight during the same period of the previous year. There have been 64 alcohol related incidents across the region during the festive period over the last seven years1.
As a result Network Rail, British Transport Police and RSSB are joining forces to urge party goers to take extra care when travelling on or around the railway. In particular, the rail industry is issuing a warning to those who live near or may be out near level crossings. Many people may be out visiting family and friends in areas they are unfamiliar with and with many crossings located within a mile of pubs and clubs it’s important that people take extra care. Passengers should also be careful when around the platform edge after having a drink and should plan their journey home ahead of going out, so that they know when the last train will be.
To help promote this message, level crossing managers are delivering free urinal liners, that carry the message ‘keep a clear head’ which is revealed when used. Drinks coasters and mirror stickers carrying the same message will also be sent out to pubs close to level crossings in the region.
Kat O’Malley, Network Rail’s community safety manager for Anglia, said: “We want everyone to have fun over the festive season and trains are the safest way to get around. But passengers and people living near the railway must remember that it can be a dangerous place. After a few drinks people can take more risks and have slower reactions.
“Taking a short cut across the tracks, chancing it at level crossings or tripping as you get onto trains can kill you or change your life forever. Our advice is that you plan your journey in advance, find out when the last train is before you go out to avoid having to rush through the station and don’t let the drink take bad decisions for you – keep a clear head.”
Network Rail is also reporting a 25 per cent increase in alcohol related incidents across the rail network in December, compared to the beginning of the year2. Data collected nationally over the last 10 years also shows that on average there are more incidents reported involving intoxication in December than any other month.
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 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 alcohol3.