Away from the track – or there's a crash, Deutsche Bahn AG

The occasions from which children or adults enter tracks and railway facilities are many and varied. Children only want to play, visitors to Wasen may want to shorten the way home or teenagers may want to make a quick selfie. But they all have one thing in common – the ignorance of the dangers.

Sentences like “I’m watching out!” are typical for people who take the dangers lightly. But when people walk on the tracks, they always risk their lives carelessly. And quite apart from the dangers to life and limb, such careless actions always lead to considerable disruptions in railway operations. Especially when children are seen near tracks, this line is always closed immediately as a precaution. The resulting delays are considerable and even train cancellations caused by people on the tracks have reached a new high for the Stuttgart S-Bahn in 2017. There are therefore many reasons why it is important to educate people about the dangers.

Cooperation with the Stuttgart Media University

The S-Bahn Stuttgart has developed the campaign “Weg vom Gleis – oder es kracht” (“Away from the track – or there’s a crash”) together with the advertising and market communication course at the Hochschule der Medien. This campaign aims to draw attention to the potential danger situation in a striking and forceful way (sensitisation), protect people from risks and bring about a change in behaviour (prevention).

Train cancellations caused by unauthorised interference in the operation of the S-Bahn reached a new high last year. This was the reason for the S-Bahn Stuttgart to initiate a campaign with a group of students from the Stuttgart Media University to inform Prof. Dr. Andreas Baetzgen about the various hazards of rail traffic.

“The campaign shows that fun, recklessness and danger in life are often very close together,” says Prof. Dr. Andreas Baetzgen. Jannika Seybold, a student in advertising and market communication, adds: “If you want to create an awareness of danger, you have to name it clearly. Our campaign therefore doesn’t talk about the problem, but says it clearly: “Get off the track – or there will be a crash! The campaign focuses specifically on posters and the social media. “We want to address people directly and attractively at the danger points,” says Baetzgen.

The campaign starts at the beginning of the Spring Festival on 21 April. “The Spring Festival and the Volksfest in Bad Cannstatt are of great importance to us as the S-Bahn. We want to bring the large festival audience there and back safely and reliably,” says Dr. Dirk Rothenstein, Chairman of the S-Bahn Stuttgart. “Unfortunately, the festive season is also reflected in our punctuality. We are increasingly noticing that the dangers of rail operations are being underestimated more and more recklessly. Therefore: “To keep the good mood untroubled, celebrating and having fun is also about safe behaviour on railway facilities and in our trains.”

The motifs of the campaign can be found below:

An S-Bahn has quite a lot of mass – more than 105 tons. Track closures and delays are therefore the lesser of two evils when unauthorised access to the tracks is required. To be more precise: anyone who enters the tracks is in danger of their lives! Technical vehicle data can be found here

A train cannot avoid obstacles and the weight and speed of an S-Bahn results in a correspondingly long braking distance. The average braking distance of an S-Bahn is about 500 metres, but depending on the conditions it can be longer than 1000 metres. It is therefore often too late before the S-Bahn comes to a standstill.

“When a train comes, I notice it.” For many reasons, it’s a reckless statement. One of these reasons is that trains are quieter than you often think. In this case you can’t rely on your hearing!

Even if there is no S-Bahn in the vicinity, there is another danger from the tracks: the 15,000 volts of the overhead line. Even a distance of less than 1.5 meters can result in a fatal flashover. This also applies to parked trains. Therefore: Away from the overhead line!

Standpunkt – by Jonas Große, Press Officer of the Federal Police Headquarters Stuttgart:

“The S-Bahn Stuttgart safety campaign is fully in line with the preventive objectives of the Federal Police, which is responsible for railway installations. The dangers lurking in and around the track are very often underestimated, even by federal police experience. Track crossings, careless behaviour at the platform edge and dangerous tests of courage in the track area unfortunately occur again and again. For this reason, it is very important to address this topic so offensively and to raise awareness so that life-threatening situations do not arise in the first place. The Federal Police in Stuttgart hopes that the campaign will be successful and that as many people as possible will be reached”.

Accident prevention in rail traffic

“We want you to arrive safely!” Deutsche Bahn has been using extensive campaigns for years to provide information on correct behaviour at railway facilities. Not only children and adolescents, but also adults are informed about the risks of misconduct. You can find extensive information material here

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Christina Cherry
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