Staying Safe Outside

Staying Safe on Railways

Children love to play and explore and doing this outside is good way to keep them fit and healthy. If your child is beginning to play out with friends it is important you know;

  • Where they are and who they are with.
  • You can trust them to make good decisions to keep safe.

Across Norfolk, we know children sometimes behave dangerously on rail tracks, this includes;

  • Playing chicken (standing in front of approaching trains)
  • Young people dangling off a bridge
  • Walking along the tracks
  • Vandalism on the tracks such as throwing objects onto the tracks from bridges. Objects on the line can cause damage to the train and its passengers.

The tabs below have information to help you talk to your child about the risks. They can help your child understand the dangers of playing near the railways.

Dive Deeper

Younger Children

To help young children stay safe around trains and tracks, you should talk to them often about how to stay safe. No matter where they live or how often they see trains and tracks. This will help them stay safe when they need to. 

Using Level Crossings

Hold your child’s hand when approaching and waiting. If you are pushing a buggy you could ask your child to hold the buggy.

Talk about how to cross train tracks safely;

STOP behind the line.

LOOK both ways for trains.

LISTEN for trains coming.

THINK “Is it safe to cross?”

Wait until the sounds and lights have stopped and the barrier opens (if there is one) and repeat STOP LOOK LISTEN THINK before crossing.

Station Safety

Teach your child about train safety at the station - If a train passes you can talk about how big the train is, how it goes really fast, and how hard it is for the driver to stop it.

Primary aged children can learn about level crossing safety by watching the Safety Rap film below.

Network Rail have teamed up with Thomas and Friends to help teach children about rail safety. Watch Joe Swash read the stay safe with Thomas story.

Older Children

Hundreds of people each year lose their lives on the railway. If they avoid being hit by a train, a lethal current from the rails and powerlines could cause serious injury.

In Norfolk not all tracks are electrified, but this does not mean there is less danger. 

It is important to make young people aware of the dangers of being around rail tracks; 

  • Today’s trains travel almost silently and reach speeds of 125mph. It may be too late by the time you hear them coming.
  • Some mainline tracks are electrified. This can cause serious injury or even death.

Watch Tom's story below to see how dangerous the railway can be;


If someone steps onto the railway track, the land next to the track, or any area near the railway that isn’t open to the public, they are trespassing. This is dangerous and illegal.

People fail to understand the danger they put themselves, and others, in when they make the choice to stray onto the rail network unauthorised.

There have been more and more incidents of trespass by young people due to social media trends involving taking selfies and pictures on tracks and level crossings. These can have potentially fatal consequences so it's important that young people understand the dangers of trespassing onto railway lines.

The film below has been inspired by real life incidents on the railway network:

Travelling Safely By Railway

Travelling on railways is seen as the safest form of travel in the UK. But it is still important to know the risks. When travelling by train;

  • Make sure your children know to keep close to you and hold hands if they are small.
  • Stay away from the edge of the platform. Some trains travel at speed through stations without stopping and create wind that is powerful enough to pull you onto the tracks.
  • Walk along the platforms. Encourage children not to scoot or cycle in a station near the tracks.
  • If you or your family drop something onto the train tracks, leave it or ask a member of staff for help. Modern trains travel fast and silently. You may find yourself on the tracks with no time to get out of the way.
  • Keep away from the edge of the platform until your train has come to a stop. Help your children step on and off, especially if there is a big gap or the floor is wet. 
  • If you need to cross at a level crossing take your time to read the signs and follow the instructions. Remember - STOP LOOK LISTEN THINK.

Network Railway offers many different resources for rail safety for children and young people. 

Related Documents

Level Crossing Safety

Click Here

Who Can Help?

If you are concerned about dangerous behaviour around the railway you can call the British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016. In an emergency call 999.

If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone. Emergency SMS is part of the standard 999 service which has been designed specifically for people with hearing loss or difficulty with speech.

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