RAIL passengers are being urged to be cautious this Christmas, as newly-released figures show a 30 per cent increase in alcohol-related incidents on the railway in the last decade.

British Transport Police and Network Rail are warning people in the run-up to Christmas, as this time of year usually sees a spike in the number of incidents on the railway across Britain, including slips, trips and falls at stations as well as more serious trespass offences.

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Incidents rise to an average of 25 a day over Christmas - double the amount compared to previous months, and figures show there were 5,187 alcohol-related incidents last December – compared to 4004 in 2010/11.

In addition to safety concerns, more than 4,300 hours of delays nationally were attributed to alcohol-related incidents last year, causing misery for rail passengers.

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Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety for Network Rail, said: "The increase in alcohol-related incidents on the railway is a major concern, which is why we have joined with our colleagues at the BTP to urge passengers to stay safe over the festive period.

"Many of us would admit to doing things we regret after a few drinks, but the consequences of unsafe behaviour near the railway could last for much longer than just the morning after."

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British Transport Police Inspector Becky Warren, explained: "We want everyone to enjoy the festivities and whilst it's the party season, we don't want you to have any next day regrets.

"We've seen first hand that alcohol can really affect your judgement and after a few drinks people often take greater risks, which can lead to people getting hurt or even killed.

"We also see people behave in ways they wouldn't when sober, so please be mindful of other passengers and rail staff who will be doing their best at this busy time of the year.

"We'll have extra patrols in place to keep rail users and the network safe – always remember that though you may not see us – we're looking out for you."

Passengers are advised to stay safe by:

•Standing back from the platform edge, behind the yellow line

•Holding onto the handrail on stairs and escalators

•Walking – not running

•Staying off the railway tracks

•Using level crossings safely

•Speaking to staff if help is needed