World champion Dai Greene stars in the Network Rail safety campaign (Network Rail)
World champion Dai Greene stars in the Network Rail safety campaign (Network Rail)

Network Rail has launched a safety campaign with World 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene highlighting the dangers of crossing railway lines.

Figures reveal there were 49 accidental deaths on railway lines between 1 April, 2011 and 31 March, 2012. In the last 10 years, 88 percent of all accidental railway fatalities were men. A third were aged between 16 and 25.

In the online video, world champion Greene is set the challenge of running across a railway. He is seen struggling to run across the track as rain, grease and other hazards obstruct his progress.

The aim of the campaign is to suggest that if even a world-class athlete such as Greene would struggle to get out of the way of an oncoming train, then most people would fail.

Dyan Crowther, operational services director at Network Rail, said: "We know a lot of young men think that taking a shortcut isn't really a risk, that they can get out of the way of any train but the fatality figures show they are wrong.

"Dai is one of the most fit and agile athletes in the world, someone that we know young men admire, particularly with the 2012 Games so close. His message and ours is simple - if he can't survive the shortcut, you won't either."

In the last 10 years, more than 200 men aged 16-30 have been killed on railway lines. Seventy-five of these happened between 10pm and 2am on a Saturday night.

Greene said: "Day in day out, I train hard to make sure I am as quick as I can be. On the running track it's important that my reactions are lightning fast but on the train track - during filming - that didn't count for much.

"The experience has brought to life just how many dangers there are on the rail tracks - most of which I knew nothing about. I hope that this film helps Network Rail show people that taking the risk is never worth it."

The campaign, called Track Tests, will also feature a Facebook page and mobile and online advertising campaign over the next four weeks.