North West Men’s League have announced an official partnership with Network Rail, Great Britain’s rail infrastructure operator. NWML

The initial one year partnership comes into place with immediate effect and is pioneered to emphasise the importance of rail safety.

Network Rail began their association within Rugby League last season and aim to build on an successful partnership in the community game.

Initiatives included hosting the Primary School Rail Safety Pilot plus involvement in College 9’s, Merit League Cup and Merit League Plate competitions.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Network Rail as partners of the competition,” said North West Men’s League Chairman Stuart Prior.

“Over the past 12 months Network Rail have been getting involved in Rugby League and it’s fantastic that they’ve decided to strike a partnership with and support the North West Men’s League.

“Network Rail’s safety campaigns carry a very important message and we are looking forward to promoting this within our sport.”

Network Rail will have a presence at future North West Men’s League fixtures and promote training and employment opportunities within the company.

They will also utilise social media and the North West Rugby League website to emphasise the importance of rail safety and offer monthly prize-draws.

Both organisations have similar target audiences and will work together to achieve common goals.

Men have accounted for 87% of trespass fatalities in the past ten years and in that period there have been 210 fatalities involving 16-30 year-olds.

Gemma Duffy, Network Rail’s Community Safety Manager, added: “Working with North West Men’s League, we will raise awareness amongst teams, their friends and families of the importance of never trespassing on the railway.

“The railway is a dangerous place and trains are quiet and fast, making hearing them approaching very difficult.

“Making a split-second decision to trespass could have potentially fatal consequences and this partnership will help illustrate this and spread our rail safety messages to people across the north west.”

The deal has been engineered by education and sport solutions company PDF Sports, who will oversee the partnership.

Phil Fitton, Managing Director PDF Sports, commented: “I’m delighted that Network Rail, one of our clients have seen the huge benefits of linking up with such a diverse sport as Rugby League to spread the Rail Safety message to the masses.

“We are looking forward to the journey ahead, working with both Network Rail and the North West Men’s League to spread the Rail Safety message.”