A RAIL company has urged parents to keep children away from railway tracks during their time off school.

The warning follows all schools being shut on Friday to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Network Rail warned that “child railway trespass injuries” always spike during school closures and appealed to parents to help prevent this. More than 13,500 trespass incidents occur on railways each year.

A spokesman for the company warned Southern railway lines “are powered by a live rail, electrified at 750V, which is more than enough to kill or seriously injure”.

John Halsall, managing director of Network Rail routhern region, said: “Young people think nothing bad will happen to them but, sadly, we know that’s not the case.

“This period of school closures is likely to last for an extended time and we are already seeing a rise in incidents.

“Our railway is so dangerous, with electrified rails at ground level and trains running 24 hours a day, even with the impact of the coronavirus, I can only appeal to parents and carers to make sure the message is reinforced - please stay away from the tracks.”

Parents can sign-up for free railway safety video tutorials at learnliveuk.com.

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, and 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.”

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