A RENEWED plea has been made to keep young people off rail lines as the threat continues to haunt the area.

New national figures published last month showed there were 60 cases of deaths and injuries on the UK rail network in 2020-21, despite the severely reduced rail traffic during the pandemic.

Leah Harkiss, an S4 pupil at St Peter the Apostle High School on work experience at the Post, discovered a report on the risk to young people’s lives in our archives from 30 years ago.

And, writing below, she asks why so little has changed.

Now Marie McNair MSP has written to the council’s education department to look at how schools are tackling the safety message.

Thirty years ago, the Post reported: “Daredevil children as young as five are putting their lives at risk by taking part in killer cat-and-mouse games on Clydebank’s main railway line.”

Youngsters were reported as accessing the line between Dalmuir and Singer through vandalised fencing.

And British Transport Police (BTP) told the Post in 1991 that: “There has always been trouble on this line.”

Earlier this year, the Post exposed that just 2.5 miles of fencing had been renewed in the past four years between Anniesland and Helensburgh. This is just a fraction of the 26 miles of track west of Glasgow.

This was despite the death of 19-year-old Aaron Keenan, from Whitecrook, in 2017 after he was able to access the railway line near Kilpatrick station.

Ms McNair said: “I want all agencies to ensure that the risks of trespassing on the railways are communicated in the most effective manner. The danger associated is at the highest level and getting the message across will save lives.

“We need to have effective communication to children in the classroom. I have written to the director of education requesting that she reviews the approach taken across schools in West Dunbartonshire.

“We need to see if the message and activity around it needs refreshed in a way that may be more effective at stressing the risks.

“I know this will be welcomed by parents and others who want to make sure that everything possible is being done to tackle this issue.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said any incident of death or injury on the track is a tragedy and insisted the company works hard to prevent them.

He said: “We employ two full-time community safety managers who work in communities to raise awareness of the dangers present.

“We also work closely with the BTP and local councils to identify areas where trespassing is a particular problem and examine ways in which we can make our infrastructure more secure.”

They also partner with schools, charities and the Scottish Football Association to run safety training camps.