COUNTY NEWS: Girl, 12, survives fall on live railway line

A 12-year-old girl miraculously escaped with her life after falling onto a live rail in Lewes, it has emerged.

Now her mother has urged young people to stay away from the railways.

Shelley Parkes said: “I felt absolutely heartbroken when I heard what had happened, especially as it could have ended up a hell of a lot worse than it did.

“Please stay away from the train lines, even if your friends go near them. Just stay completely clear as it’s so dangerous. The gates and fences are up for a reason.

“Thankfully we’ve still got her here, but it’s still got a knock-on effect two weeks later where none of us are sleeping because of the nightmares. We’re lucky she’s still here as other people aren’t so lucky.”

Network Rail safety experts visited the victim’s school, King’s Academy Ringmer, this week to raise awareness around the dangers of trespassing on the railway.

Mother Shelley Parkes ... 'None of us are sleeping because of the nightmares'

Mother Shelley Parkes ... 'None of us are sleeping because of the nightmares'

British Transport Police (BTP) has launched a new campaign in conjunction with Network Rail - called ‘You vs Train’ - which targets teenagers to make them face the serious and devastating consequences for them and their loved ones when they make the potentially life-changing decision to ignore warnings and go onto the railway, with its obvious and hidden dangers.

Alarming new figures reveal more than a quarter of teenagers (27 per cent) confess to behaving in a way that could endanger their life on the railway. One in 10 teenagers admitted to walking along the railway line - more than two fifths of those (42 per cent) in the last year.

The number of young people taking risks on the railway track has gone up by almost 80 per cent in the last five years. In the last 12 months alone, seven young people under the age of 18 have lost their lives and a further 48 people have suffered life-changing injuries.

BTP Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith said: “The tracks are not a playground. They’re incredibly dangerous and can easily result in serious injury or worse.

“We hope the campaign will help young people to understand the risks, and help them to make the right decision and stay away from railway lines.

“Equally, it will also help them understand that bad decisions don’t just affect them, but they will have a deep and lasting impact on their families and friends as well. This campaign is not just for our young people but also their friends and family.”

Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, said: “Hundreds of people each year unintentionally take on the railway and lose. This year we have already seen a record number of young people losing their life or being injured on the track.

“The railway is full of both obvious and hidden dangers. The electricity on the railway is always on and always dangerous. Trains can also travel up to 125 miles per hour, so even if a driver can see your child, they can’t stop in time and they can’t change direction. Parents - please help us keep your children safe by educating them about what they take on when they step on the track.”