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The Rail Industry

Check out the Rail Industry is supporting the Beavers Safety and Cubs Personal Safety activity badges

Why we work together

The Rail Industry cares about keeping passengers and the general public safe when using trains, stations and level crossings, or when theyre near to tracks. We know that by helping more young people understand the dangers and educating them how use the railway safely, will help to keep future generations safe.

Hear from Louise McNally from Network Rail and Scout Volunteer John about staying safe on the railways

To watch in full screen, double click the video

Five key messages

Electricity is easily the most dangerous factor in stepping on the track. It’s always switched on and people don’t realise it can jump – you don’t even need to touch a cable to be seriously injured.

Overhead lines carry 25,000 volts, a hundred times more than your supply at home.  The third rail is probably the hardest danger to see. It looks just like an ordinary rail, but it carries 750 volts. It’s designed to send power to the train, but you are 70% water and the perfect conductor for this electricity. If you touch the rail, you will ‘stick’ to it.

You can’t outrun a train. And even if you could, you wouldn’t hear it coming.  Today’s trains reach speeds of 125mph almost silently and they run 24 hours a day. 

This is about taking positive action if you see someone in distress: approach them and see if they are OK and if you need to, call for help. 

In a busy and crowded train station, you can easily become distracted by other people or your mobile phone. At level crossings, you can also become distracted by your music or thoughts as you drift into your own little world. This can be dangerous as you lose sight of the risks around you when you’re lost in thought.

Don’t be afraid to report anything that feels out of place. We rely on information from the public to help us keep the rail network safe. It could be someone avoiding rail staff or police, leaving a bag on the railway, or checking out security arrangements like CCTV. If it doesn’t feel right, let us know and we can decide if what you have seen or what you know is important. We will check the information thoroughly. Text the British Transport Police on 61016.

Beavers taking part in Platforms for Change


We've created some great Rail Industry themed activities to help you deliver the badges and learn all about the five key messages.

Keep an eye out as there will be more coming soon! 

All aboard the train

Platforms for Change

If you're a part of our station partnership programme, we've compiled a list of activities suggestions that you may be able to do during your visit.

Want to know more?

There will be more information coming soon so keep checking back if you're interested in partnering up with a local station. 

Competition Time!

The award-winning Backtrack competition is back for its third year, so why not get involved!

Backtrack's asking entrants to create a simple but powerful message, to make others aware of the dangers of trespassing on the railways and to encourage them to stop. 

You could make a short film saying why you would not trespass on the railway (also known as a pledge) using the pledge card on the backtrack website, or design a graphic showing a rail safety message that could be shared on social media.

Your competition entries could help make a real difference!


To watch in full screen, double click the video

Backtrack Competition

Head over to the Backtrack website for more details on how to enter!

Activity Badge sponsored by the rail industry

Calling Explorer Young Leaders!

Do you want to become a Railway Safety Ambassador?

It's simple, all you need to do is deliver sessions to Beavers and/or Cubs around the Rail Industry's Five Key Safety Messages.

By taking part, you will also be working towards missions one and two of the Explorers Young Leaders Scheme. Find out more here. ​

There are many activities on the Programme Planner you can use to engage young people in railway safety, and in turn help them achieve their Beavers Safety Activity Badge and their Cubs Personal Safety Badge. Once you have delivered the necessary session(s), you can order your Railway Safety Ambassador Certificate here

Rail Industry staff are offering support to groups to help them learn about how to be safe on and around the railways. Suitable for all sections, with specific links to Beaver Safety and Cub Personal Safety Activity Badges. Please contact to be linked with your local Community Safety Officer. You can work with your local Community Safety Officer to work out what support is best for your young people.

All about the Rail Industry

Britain’s railway is operated by several organisations with clearly defined roles and responsibilities that work closely together to deliver a safe and reliable railway for passengers, freight customers and the public. 

Passenger and freight services are provided by train companies who operate on infrastructure provided by Network Rail. These organisations collaboratively deliver the timetable and customer service. Through the Rail Delivery Group they also develop strategies and plans to improve the railway. The Rail Safety & Standards Board supports the industry to help them achieve their objectives - particularly in regard to efficiency and safety. British Transport Police support the industry by policing the journeys of more than six million passengers each day. The industry is regulated by the Department for Transport and the Office of Rail and Road.

We have one of the safest railways in Europe, however serious and fatal accidents still occur.  We invest in several safety awareness programmes and campaigns, working with national and local organisations, to make the railway a safer place to be for the public.  These safety awareness activities include:

There are more than 13,000 trespass incidents on the railway each year. Last year, 15 lives were lost as a result of trespass activity. A quarter of these incidents involve children and young people, who are often unaware of the hidden dangers associated with the railway such as the introduction of faster, quieter trains and the presence of a powerful electrical current that is never switched off. The Rail Industry is committed to ensuring that families and communities fully understand these dangers and the risk to life that they present.

There are just over 6,000 level crossings in Britain where the road meets rail; over 60% have no warning that a train is approaching, including footpaths and bridleways. In the last five years, there have been 22 accidental fatalities at level crossings. Incidents where pedestrians and cyclists are almost hit by a train are increasing, with just over 300 incidents in 2019/20. The most commonly recorded causes are people not willing to wait, being unaware of an approaching train, thrill seeking and antisocial behaviour or deliberate misuse. The Rail Industry is focused on reducing risk to the public at its level crossings, and there is still more to do to ensure families and communities understand that they must continue to take care and pay attention when crossing the railway.

255 people sadly take their own lives on the railway each year. For their loved ones, their actions are devastating. For rail staff and passengers involved in such tragedies, the impact can last a lifetime. Research and first-hand experience has shown that just talking to someone in distress (or telling a member of staff so they can talk to them or find help) can stop them taking their own life. For every person who does take their own life on the railway, six lives are saved by someone doing something, even if that’s just asking how they are. Learning how to help someone in distress not only helps to prevent suicides on the railway but can be used in everyday life too. Suicide is not inevitable, and we can all support someone who is at a low point in their lives.

Every year, two and a half billion people travel by railway across England, Scotland and Wales. British Transport Police are there to make sure that everyone who works or travels on the railway does so safely and securely. While the railway is one of the safest ways to travel, we all need to continue to remain vigilant to protect ourselves and those around us. You should always text British Transport Police on 61016 if you see unusual behaviour or something out of place on your journey and call 999 in an emergency. If you see something that concerns you, even if you think it might be nothing, report it and British Transport Police will respond appropriately.

Three Scouts making a Backtrack pledge at a station