Public urged to act if they see someone looking distressed after train deaths

People should ‘trust their instincts’ and act if they see someone looking distressed on the railway, according to a suicide prevention charity.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 8:00 pm
Updated Monday, 1st March 2021, 8:11 pm

The advice comes after two railway deaths took place last month in the space of just five days in South Yorkshire and North East Derbyshire.

Chris Berriman, Samaritans’ Network Rail training officer, said: “Trust your instincts and remember you use small talk every day - at work or with friends of friends over a virtual video call.

"Striking up a conversation can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts.”

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You can call Samaritans free on 116 123 if you need help.

Members of the public can also report their concerns to a member of station staff or call 999.

Chris added: “You might be worried that you’ll make things worse or say the wrong thing, but there’s no evidence to suggest that.”

"The pandemic has added to the pressures people face this year and it’s shown just how important it is for us to support each other and provide a listening ear to those who may be struggling.”

For every one life lost on the railways, six lives are saved by the people around them, according to Samaritans.

The charity has worked in partnership with Network Rail since 2010 to prevent and reduce suicides on the railway and support those affected by them, including rail staff, train drivers and the passengers.

No fewer than 22,000 rail staff and British Transport Police officers have received training in that time to help them save lives.

Chris said: “We then recognised that the public could also have a big part to play in making interventions, too.”

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email [email protected] or visit to find your nearest branch.