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Arriva Rail London champions rail safety education for young people with new partnership

25 March 2024

ARL’s trespass and welfare manager, Gemma Cox, plays an extremely important role in keeping over 520,000 passengers safe on the London Overground network every day – including our youngest passengers.

It was back to school for Gemma on Wednesday 20 March, as she visited a school in Northamptonshire to speak with Year 11 students about staying safe on the railway and careers in rail. The event was organised by Learn Live, who run the Rail Safe Friendly campaign. This campaign brings schools and the rail industry together to work towards a common goal: improving rail safety in all schools. Since 2019, Learn Live have reached over 19 million young people in 11,500 schools across the UK, in partnership with the Trespass Improvement Team at Network Rail.

ARL were also presented with a ‘gold disc’ after becoming gold partners of the Rail Safe Friendly initiative. As part of this partnership, Learn Live will deliver rail safety broadcasts to 150 schools on the London Overground network, reaching children aged 4 to 18.

The award was presented by Liz Ballantyne, whose son, Harrison, was a student at the school. Harrison’s life was sadly cut short at the age of 11, after he was electrocuted by overhead power cables whilst retrieving a lost football from a rail freight depot. In 2022, Liz worked with Network Rail to share Harrison’s devastating story as part of the ‘You vs Train’ campaign, and today promotes rail safety being taught to children, young people and their parents and carers.

Gemma Cox, trespass and welfare manager for ARL, said: “Harrison’s story is a tragic reminder of the dangers of the railway. Many of us – both children and adults – don’t realise how close we are to overhead cables powered by high voltage electricity.

“We are proud at ARL to be part of Rail Safe Friendly. There are many reasons why young people trespass or access the railway unsafely; they might go onto the tracks to retrieve a dropped phone or headphone, or take a shortcut to the next platform. Whatever the reason, we want make sure that school students understand: it’s not safe and it’s not worth the risk.”