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CrossCountry supports youngsters’ safety with £11,000 boost for education programme

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Long distance train operator CrossCountry has partnered with the Rail Safe Friendly programme to help promote rail safety awareness to young people.

Rail Safe Friendly was launched in March 2023 by Stuart Heaton following the tragic death of 11-year-old Harrison Ballantyne who received a fatal electric shock after climbing over a fence to retrieve his football at a train depot.

Over 4,000 UK schools are already on board with the Rail Safe Friendly programme and more than 80 organisations from across the rail sector have become partners and sponsors of the programme.

Ben Simkin, CrossCountry’s Regional Director for North East & Scotland, said: “We are pleased to be working in collaboration with Learn Live to help roll out the Rail Safe Friendly programme in key areas along our network.

“We care passionately about keeping young people safe when using trains, stations, level crossings or being anywhere else near the tracks. Working together will help ensure that we can help more young people to understand how to use the railway safely.”

The Rail Safe Friendly broadcasts are delivered through live or on demand content digitally into classrooms and assembly halls via the Learn Live channel. The channel also has a moderated, GDPR-compliant live chat facility to promote interaction from schools and colleges taking part in Rail Safe Friendly.

Digital education provider Learn Live delivers Network Rail's video safety content about the dangers of trespassing on railways directly to schools - since it was launched in 2019 it has reached over 21 million young people more than 12,500 schools across the UK.

Stuart Heaton, Managing Director of Rail Safe Friendly and Learn Live, said: “We are delighted to welcome CrossCountry to the Rail Safe Friendly programme. Their support will help us equip even more children with vital rail safety awareness - saving lives and preventing injuries on the country’s rail network and in yards, depots and sidings.

“It is crucial that children receive vital knowledge, at a young age, to keep them rail safe. The Rail Safe Friendly programme seeks to educate children and young people on the many dangers that are present on the railway.

He added: “For example, nearly half of the UK rail network is electrified and more than 30 per cent uses a third rail to power the train. The third rail has 750 volts running through it, which is enough to kill or seriously injure someone if they stepped on it.

“Overhead cables that power trains carry 25,000 volts, more than 100 times the power of electricity in the average home. Electricity from overhead lines can also jump or arc through the air, meaning someone does not have to be touching the line to be electrocuted and killed.”

Businesses and organisations that want to partner with Rail Safe Friendly, or schools that want to be certified, can register their interest at www.railsafefriendly.com.

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