Travel Updates


Fatality Announcements

When there is a fatality on the railway there are inevitable delays; a lot of work is being done to reduce their occurrence and the subsequent disruption to services

Whenever there is a fatality on the railway, a strict procedure is followed:

  • If the person was struck by a train it is brought to an immediate stop, blocking the line and possibly delaying other trains in the area.
  • The British Transport Police (BTP) must attend to take witness statements and determine if further investigation is required.
  • A specialist funeral company will attend and remove the deceased.
  • The Network Rail mobile operations team will then determine if the train is safe to proceed.
  • The driver of the train is always replaced.

Of the fatalities on the railway in 2013/14, seven occurred on a level crossing, 18 involved people trespassing on the railway and 280 were suicide or suspected suicide.

Around 4.5% of suicides in the UK take place on the railway, but the emotional, human and financial costs are disproportionately high as they can take place in view of passengers, station staff and drivers and result in considerable disruption to services.

What is being done to reduce fatalities

While efforts in this area are clearly focussed on prevention, closer relations are made with the BTP which have improved procedures to reduce the time before rail services can resume.

Trespass prevention

  • Network Rail are working to make more people aware of the dangers on and around the railway, focussing our efforts on trespassing hotspots and recently electrified routes.
  • Community safety managers work with schools, charities, local councils and the BTP on safety campaigns aimed at high-risk groups: children aged 11-16 years and young people aged 18-24.
  • Campaigns include the Rail Life Tumblr site aimed at young people and educational materials for teachers and parents.
  • The Track Test campaign is aimed at the highest risk group, males aged 16-24, and uses personalities from sport and music in a series of YouTube videos.

Level crossing safety education

  • Regularly run a TV campaigns about the dangers of level crossings.
  • A level crossing awareness team works with communities to educate people about using level crossings.
  • Educational resources provided for teachers and parents about the dangers on and around the railway how to use level crossings safely.

Prevention of accidents in stations

The station safety campaign to alert people to the dangers in stations has the following elements:

  • Posters and videos in stations.
  • A viral internet campaign featuring CCTV of incidents.

Suicide prevention

In 2010, Network Rail entered a partnership with Samaritans to tackle the complex issues around rail suicide

The partnership has included the training of over 7,500 people who work for train companies, the British Transport Police and Network Rail with the skills, confidence and knowledge to identify and approach people exhibiting suicidal behaviour.

Network Rail, Samaritans and train operators working together to review the design of stations and other parts of our infrastructure to make locations less attractive for someone considering taking their own life; the changes include:

  • Removing benches from all fast line platforms
  • Installing fences to separate stopping and fast-line platforms
  • Installing fences at platform ends and anti-trespass guards to stop people using stations to access the railway
  • Installing lighting along dark sections of platforms and painting yellow hatching at the end of platforms
  • Smart cameras which alert us to unusual movements of people close to the tracks including at level crossings
  • Posters and signs raising awareness of Samaritans helpline in stations and at level crossings

Regular awareness days are held with Samaritans at key stations.

GPs and medical centres visited to understand what is going on in the community and any associated increase in risk.

Samaritans offer support in person to distressed individuals.

To get a better understanding of actions that could help prevent incidents, investigations are carried out to further investigations afterwards which have improved the sharing of information with the BTP.

Around 400,000 minutes of delays were attributed to suicides in 2013/14, an increase of 35% from 2012/13.

For more information about Samaritans, visit


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Last updated:   16 January 2017