Terrifying footage of train track near-misses released in warning to parents and children
Parents have been warned that children are almost twice as likely to trespass on the railway in the summer than the winter.
Network Rail (NR), which manages Britain's track system, said the longer evenings and extended school holidays "spell danger" for young people.
Analysis of Rail Safety and Standards Board data for 2015/16 showed there are almost 600 trespass incidents involving people under the age of 25 in August, compared with fewer than 300 in December.
Over the past 10 years almost 170 young people have been killed after trespassing on the railway.
Graham Hopkins, head of safety at NR, said: "We are urging parents to remind their children that if they are on the railway, they are on dangerous ground.
"It may seem like a good idea to take a short cut, or like fun to play on the tracks, but this is not only illegal, it is also dangerous."
Some 72 per cent of all trespassers killed over the past 10 years were hit by a train.
A further 17 per cent were electrocuted while others fell from structures or trains.
Mr Hopkins went on: "Britain has the safest railway in Europe but still too many people lose their lives on the tracks.
"As the railway gets busier and we electrify more lines to improve services, we must work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers that exist.
"Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death."
Taking a short cut was the motivation for 42 per cent of trespass incidents, with 19% due to thrill-seeking.
Chief Superintendent Paul Brogden, from British Transport Police, said: "We're doing all we can to keep youngsters safe by patrolling areas where we know they're likely to trespass and prevent them from doing so.
"We're also putting posters and signs at hotspot locations to deter people from endangering their lives by going on the lines. However, we cover 10,000 miles of track and we cannot tackle this issue alone.
"That is why we are urging parents and young people to heed this warning and take a reality check when it comes to trespass. It's not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real-life consequences."