Tragic death of Crick boy inspires rail company to sponsor life-saving railway safety initiative - The Rugby Observer

Tragic death of Crick boy inspires rail company to sponsor life-saving railway safety initiative

Rugby Editorial 10th Jun, 2024   0

THE TRAGIC death of a boy from Crick has inspired a rail company to sponsor a life-saving initiative to promote railway safety to schoolchildren.

Colas Rail UK hosted an event at its Rugby Depot to launch its Gold Partnership in the Rail Safe Friendly (RSF) initiative, which provides digital education on the dangers of trespassing on the railways to over 4,000 schools nationwide.

Harrison Ballantyne, 11, died in June 2017 when he went into Daventry International Rail Freight Depot (DIRFT) to retrieve a football. He received a fatal electric shock from the overhead line when he climbed on top of a stationary freight wagon.

His mum Liz’s friendship with Laura Cook, Rail Services Fatigue Manager at Colas Rail UK, set in motion an educational project led by Colas Rail in conjunction with Network Rail (NR), which has since evolved into the RSF initiative.

Laura Cook said: “We have to ensure that this never happens to another child, to another family.

“There are so many dangers on the railway that people outside of the industry would not be aware of. At some point in life, every child will be near a railway and needs to be aware of these dangers and the possible consequences.”

The RSF initiative was set up in 2023 by Learn Live, following its collaboration with Colas Rail and NR on the Harrison’s Story campaign as part of NR’s ‘You Vs Train’ campaign.

Colas Rail has now become a Gold Partner with the RSF, and will sponsor 150 schools across the UK to teach their pupils how to stay safe around railway tracks. Each school will follow the education programme, working towards a Gold Award in Rail Safety.

The event to mark the new partnership was opened by Rugby Mayor Simon Ward, and was attended by students from local schools who are taking part in the programme.

Stuart Heaton, Managing Director of Rail Safe Friendly and Learn Live, and one of the guest speakers at the event, said: “We are delighted to welcome Colas Rail UK to the RSF programme. Through their support we will be able to reach even more children with vital rail safety awareness with the aim of saving lives and preventing injuries.

“It is crucial that children receive vital knowledge, at a young age, to keep them rail safe. The RSF programme seeks to educate children and young people on the many dangers that are present on the railway.”

Colas Rail’s CEO Jean-Pierre Bertrand added: “We’re delighted to be joining the RSF as gold members and playing our part to share these crucial safety messages to schools across the UK.”

Visit to watch the Harrison’s Story video.

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