From Left to Right: Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Tony Birrell, Stuart Heaton, Simon Ball, Elizabeth Ballantyne, Sep Semsarzadeh and Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Simon Ward
Image Credit:
Nikola Helis

We’re delighted to share that Colas Rail UK has become Gold Partners with the Rail Safe Friendly (RSF) initiative to promote rail safety to schoolchildren.

The initiative was set up in early 2023 by Learn Live following the collaboration of Colas Rail UK, Learn Live and Network Rail (NR) on Harrison’s Story as part of NR’s ‘You Vs Train’ campaign. Harrison’s Story is the cautionary tale of Harrison Ballantine, who tragically passed away retrieving a football from a nearby train depot.

Educating children about safety on or near the railway is close to the heart of Colas Rail’s core values. Harrison’s mum Elizabeth is a close friend of Laura Cook, Rail Services Fatigue Manager at Colas Rail UK, such a tragic event within our industry instigated an educational project led by Colas Rail in conjunction with Network Rail, which has since grown and evolved into the RSF initiative. We are thrilled to continue our efforts in supporting the project and becoming a Gold Member, sponsoring 150 schools across the UK to teach their pupils how to stay safe around railway tracks.

To celebrate the partnership, a special event was arranged at our Rugby Depot, which featured special guest speakers including:

  • Colas Rail UK’s Head of Plant Operations, Tony Birrell
  • Colas Rail UK’s Head of Freight Operations, Sep Semsarzadeh
  • Learn Live Managing Director, Stuart Heaton
  • Colas Rail UK CEO, Jean-Pierre Bertrand
  • The new elected Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Simon Ward

Colas Rail UK CEO, Jean-Pierre Bertrand said “Caring for our site neighbours and local communities is at the core of our culture and the RSF initiative embodies this perfectly.

“We’re delighted to be joining as gold members and playing our part to share these crucial safety messages to schools across the UK.”

Speaking about the event and the importance of this partnership, Colas Rail UK Fatigue Manager, 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 need to be aware of these dangers and the possible consequences.”

Stuart Heaton, Managing Director of Rail Safe Friendly and Learn Live, said: “We are delighted to welcome Colas Rail to the Rail Safe Friendly 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 on the country’s rail network and in yards, depots and sidings.

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

First Published: 4th June 2024