Warning to parents after school closures cause spike in children playing on railway tracks
Parents are being urged to keep children away from railway tracks as schools close their doors to most pupils due to the coronavirus.
Network Rail said it always sees a spike in trespassing during school holidays.
More than 13,500 trespass incidents are recorded on Britain's rail network each year, a quarter of which involve young people.
Rail bosses warned that the reduction in passenger train frequencies does not make it safe to walk across tracks as it means more freight services can operate, and electricity powers overhead cables and third rails 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, said: "Easter holidays and the clocks going forward are the start of the peak for railway trespass.
"With schools now closed for an extended period, I'm really worried that the railway will become an irresistible but catastrophic playground for young people.
"Each year, we see hundreds of people taking risks on and around the railway, resulting in tragic consequences and life-changing injuries.
"Please talk to your children, access our free school railway safety lessons and help us to help protect young people.
"It's straightforward: everyone loses if you choose to step on the track."
Parents can visit https://learnliveuk.com/trespass-awareness-week/ to sign up for free online tutorials from the You Vs Train safety campaign.