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West Midlands Trains raises awareness of passenger safety during festive period

West Midlands Trains (WMT) recently hosted an ‘Arrive Safe’ event at Liverpool Lime Street to raise awareness of passenger safety during the busy Christmas period.

WMT – operator of West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway – were supported at the ‘Arrive Safe’ event on Friday 9 December by volunteers from Women in Community Rail and RASA, a Merseyside-based charity who supports anyone who has been the victim of, or affected by, sexual violence.

WMT handed out over 100 personal safety alarms, information cards, pens and trolley coins, as well as important information about the campaign to support passengers in travelling with confidence and greater ease.

For the awareness day, the rail operator also compiled a selection of tips and advice to help passengers feel more at ease travelling by rail this winter.

Tip One

Save 61016 to your phone

The British Transport Police (BTP) operates a 61016-text service that is there for you to use at any point during your journey on public transport. You can text this number if you are feeling unsafe, worried, or anxious about anything you have seen whilst travelling.  

Once you have contacted this number, you will receive an acknowledgment from the BTP that they have received your message. They will then assign your text to a member of the team to deal with – so the more information you are able to provide, the quicker and more accurately they will be able to deal with your concern.

In most cases you will be able to find this number on posters in stations and on trains, but why not save it to your phone under ‘British Transport Police’? That way you’ve got it to hand, should you ever feel you need it.

Did you know:

You can also contact the 999 emergency services by text from your mobile phone. In order to do this, you must register. So, be sure to drop ‘999’ a text saying ‘register’ – you will receive a reply with instructions to follow from there. A handy tip to note if you are ever in a situation where you can’t make a voice call.

Tip Two

There is a conductor on every train

Many people don’t realise that every West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway train has a conductor on board, as well as the driver. So, rest assured that if your train is moving, your conductor is on the journey with you. If you’re travelling alone on a late-night train and would feel more comfortable sitting near a staff member, there is a simple way to locate your conductor.

At every station your train stops at, your conductor will check the platform is clear before getting back on and closing the doors ready for the next station. When you are boarding your train, look out for the staff member checking the platform and you can get on the same carriage as them. However, in addition to your conductor there are also alarms you can pull if you need to contact the train crew in an emergency.

Tip Three

Download Hollie Guard

There are several free apps available to download onto your smart phone to help you feel at ease when reaching your end destination – such as Hollie Guard.

With various modes and settings available, the Hollie Guard app aims to provide enhanced levels of protection to the user. There are different modes which allow you to select what works for you based on your current situation:

  • Plan your route: Set your start and end time before setting off, and your emergency contacts will be notified once you arrive safely at your chosen destination.
  • Meeting someone new: Set an allotted time for your meeting with someone new, and your emergency contacts will be alerted if you don’t mark yourself safe before the time is over.
  • Duress pin: In situations where you may have been forced to deactivate an alert, you can use the duress pin ‘9999’ to notify emergency contacts and prioritise the alert to emergency response teams.
  • Reports: Allows you to report an incident quickly and easily with supporting photo evidence.
  • Soft alert: With a few discreet presses of the volume button, an immediate alert can be raised, whether the phone is in a pocket or hand (Android only).
  • Emergency contacts: Once an alert has been raised, your emergency contacts will be immediately notified on their mobile phone or by email.  

Tip Four

Walking safe

If you have a walk home ahead of you, once you get off public transport, there are plenty of resources available to ensure you feel as at ease as possible whilst making this final part of your journey. The Strut Safe organisation will take the time to make sure you have made your way to your destination – whether it be home or your car – safe and sound. Available Friday and Saturday 7pm – 3am, and Sunday until 1am.

Perfect for making your way home after an evening at the Christmas markets, you can call 0333 335 0026 and a volunteer on the other line will stay and chat with you until you have reached your destination. This is a great way to keep yourself occupied whilst you’re making your journey home and will mean someone is there with you to help you get back safely.

Tip Five

Speak to staff

At every station you can utilise one of the help points. They are easy to locate, clearly marked, and staff will be happy to help assist you to ensure you make your journey home safely. Whether its journey information, help to find your platform, or you would like to speak to someone about a concern you may be having – the help points are always there to put your mind at ease. In addition to this, and to continue their efforts in keeping passengers safe, WMT have been continually investing in their stations, including upgrading lighting and CCTV.

Tip Six

Be prepared

As fun as this time of year can be, don’t forget to prepare ahead. Simple things such as planning your journey, allowing plenty of time for any connections, and not aiming for the last train or bus so you have a backup if you get held up will all contribute to making your journey home as smooth as possible.

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your phone battery levels. If you’re starting to see your percentage is declining whilst out with friends, it might be worth holding off on the selfies for a while. Plus, if you keep a charger handy, you can always juice up a little bit with USB charging points now becoming more common in leisure venues and on public transport.

The key thing to remember this winter whilst celebrating Christmas and beyond, is to be aware of the resources readily available to you; be prepared for your journey ahead and remember to have fun!