Herefordshire and Worcestershire have seen the greatest number of serious vandalism incidents in the West Midlands in the last 12 months, it has been revealed.
On the launch of its 'No Messin' national railway safety campaign yesterday Network Rail ( NR) has released figures detailing the region's 20 worst areas for railway vandalism and trespass.
More than 700 incidents have been recorded in the last 12 months in total in the West Midlands, with the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire topping the list with 98 incidents and one fatality.
Leamington Spa and Warwick are also highly placed in with 24 and 15 incidents respectively. Willenhall in Coventry chalked up 22.
Robbie Burns, Network Rail's route director, said: "Last year in the UK, 34 people died on railway tracks - that's 34 too many. "Each one represents a tragic story of ignoring all the warnings that the railway is not a place to hang around, use as a shortcut or to play on. "The school holidays, especially Easter and summer, are a time when such incidents are likely to rise and we need to hammer home the railway safety message in an effort to prevent further tragedies."
Also making the vandalism top 20 were a number of locations in Birmingham, including Stechford where 21 incidents occurred, followed closely by Water Orton with 18, Adderley Park with 16, Erdington with 12 and Graveley Hill with 10.
Walsall, Smethwick, Stourbridge and Cradley Heath also feature in the top 20, as did the Wellington area of Shropshire which has seen 14 incidents in the last year.
There are an estimated 27 million cases of trespass on Britain's railways every year, including 640,000 objects placed on the tracks and fourmillion objects thrown at trains. The 'No-Messin' safety campaign is aimed at those aged between ten and 16 years-old. n www.no-messin.com