OREANDA-NEWS. Network Rail volunteer Tom Crosby received the Judges Special Award at last night’s National Rail Awards.

Tom works with Network Rail’s Community Safety Team, visiting schools and community groups to warn about the dangers of trespassing on the railway. He works tirelessly to reach and engage with young people across the North West and beyond.

Sadly it was a terrible accident Tom had on the railway almost 15 years ago that led him to become involved with Network Rail’s safety team. Tom was just 14 years old when he got an electric shock whilst playing on the railway. Tom had  jumped on the top of a train slipped, grabbed an overhead electric wire to steady himself and received an electric shock of 25,000 volts, which has left him with scars for the rest of his life.

The accident left Tom with horrific injuries and had a huge impact on his family. The first night he was taken into hospital his mum was told there was only a 25 per cent chance he would make it through the night. The incident also had an impact on his school work and he got badly bullied. The incident was the start of his life taking a serious downhill turn.

After many tough years and family difficulties, Tom decided to turn his life around and contacted Network Rail, expressing an interest in speaking to school children about his mistakes and how he hoped to use his own story to teach children to stay safe around the railway. Tom explains;

“I typed in Network Rail safety and it said to email if you have any enquiries. A week later, I got an email from Nick Jordan, Community Safety Manager at Network Rail. We ended up meeting and I was so impressed with the work he was doing to try and make the railways safe. He's become a friend and helps push me in the right direction.

“Since January this year I've been trying to make a positive out of a negative - trying to get involved with Network Rail, just trying to get the point across of how dangerous the railways are for kids, for anyone really.”

Tom has also told his story to support national safety campaigns run by Network Rail and he was featured on the BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 live. His story was also one of the most popular films on the BBC’s website.

Nick Jordan, Community Safety Manager at Network Rail explains,

“It’s fantastic to see Tom recognised for all the hard work he does for rail safety. He is not a railway employee and volunteers all his time. He is completely motivated by passion, and strives to stop others from being injured and killed on the railway.

“He has moved and inspired everyone from senior managers, frontline staff to school children. Last night was no exception; there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after the audience heard his story.”

About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.