TRAIN travellers and people living near the lines are being urged to keep a clear head and stay sober to avoid accidents over the festive season.
The plea comes in a bid to slash the 7,000-plus alcohol-related incidents on the rail network in 2016/17, a large proportion of which happened over Christmas.
Dangers from being boozed up include ignoring level crossing warnings, falling off platforms or down escalators, and straying onto the tracks.
The Keep a Clear Head campaign is organised by Network Rail, British Transport Police and the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB).
Of the 7,419 recorded alcohol-related incidents on or around the railway in 2016/17, 16 per cent took place over the festive period.
A total of 21 people have been killed due to alcohol-related incidents at the platform edge and a further 91 people seriously injured over the last decade.
Passengers boarding and alighting trains were involved in 469 alcohol-related accidents in the last five years.
British Transport Police said there was also a rise in violence at many stations over the festive season, much of it caused by excess alcohol.
In response to the seasonal surge in incidents, Network Rail and British Transport Police will be holding alcohol awareness events at Britain’s busiest railway stations in the run up to Christmas.
Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, said: “Though trains are the safest way to get around, passengers and people living near the railway must always remember that it can be a dangerous place.
“That’s why we’re reminding the public to remain alert to those dangers whilst they’re having fun over the festive season.
“Taking a short-cut across the tracks, chancing it at level crossings or tripping at the platform edge can, at best, cause delays to your journey. At worst it can result in serious harm.”
Patrols by British Transport Police will also be stepped up at railway stations across the country.
Ch Insp John Loveless said: “Unfortunately, during the festive season, we see a rise in public order offences and antisocial behaviour. Much of this is down to the people involved drinking too much and behaving in a way that would shock them and their family and friends if they were sober.
“We want everyone to get to their destination safely. Our officers will be out on the network helping people to enjoy the festivities safely and encouraging them to think about how alcohol can affect the way they behave and the effect this has on their fellow passengers.
“If you’re using the railway to get around this Christmas, please keep a clear head. Think about what you would do and how you would behave if you were sober.
"There is no excuse for spoiling other people’s journeys or behaving any differently because you’ve drunk alcohol.”