View Full Version : Getting the jitters.

27th Apr 2012, 09:04
Usually on my little patch of railway we get around one or sometimes two suicides every month. Part of the job, but it is always in the back of your mind. This week however, we had one at Royston on Monday, two on Wednesday with four hours between them one at New Barnet the other at Hadley Wood. Yesterday the train in front of me bowled one over just north of Royston. The rest of the day I was driving on eggshells if you can do such a thing. Got up this morning to find another has gone under at Welwyn Garden City. Really looking forward to going into work today.

God knows the poor sods think they are doing the right thing and they have nothing personally against us but having had two already in the last ten years I could do without another one. Going through the suburbans at 100mph today will certainly be done with a twitchy rusty sheriffs badge.


unstable load
27th Apr 2012, 09:10
Jeez, mate!:eek:
Here's hoping the line stays clear!

Worrals in the wilds
27th Apr 2012, 09:10
Take it easy. :(
If the worst happens, remember that it's not your fault. If someone wants to jump in front of your train there's nothing you personally can do to stop them. You can't pull up in a metre, jump out and say 'mate, have you thought this through? Have a cuppa'. It's not an option for you.

It's very sad that some people see no other way out. I've always thought it was a selfish way to commit suicide but I guess people who are contemplating that sort of thing don't think about that. :sad:

beyondblue: the national depression initiative (http://www.beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx?)
Good mob with a good website, for anyone out there in internet-land who's feeling lousy and thinking that jumping in front of a train is the only option. I'm sure there are local UK equivalents.

27th Apr 2012, 09:16
Crikey, best of luck mate, I feel for you guys, I really do. I thought train-assisted suicide was a peculiarly Belgian think, we get lots of them here. My Brussels metro commute is regularly disrupted 'because of an incident involving a person', as the announcements say.

27th Apr 2012, 09:21
McGoonagall that is rough.

The kind of imminent, immediate and very real job-related stress and fear that most of us never have to deal with.

Without you guys and gals going out there every day doing your job, our society would come to a very abrupt stand still. You pay a high price so that we can all get where we need to go to.

Thank you for the job you do.

Worrals in the wilds
27th Apr 2012, 09:27
+1 Juud.
I thought train-assisted suicide was a peculiarly Belgian thingNah, we get plenty of them too. :sad:
'The following delays are due to an incident on the line...' is the local jargon. You see everyone on the platform wince and think 'you poor bastards' (the victim, the driver and the emergency services people who have to deal with the aftermath).

27th Apr 2012, 09:46
Is that right Worrals?? I took a train to Bris 2 weeks ago, not a pleasant experience by any means, specially that Beenleigh part, an be scary, but I didn't know we had a lot of train line suicides.....so if I hear 'the following delays are due to an incident on the line' I'll know what that means....

How did you know that? I would have thought nothing more of a PA like that

27th Apr 2012, 09:47
A friends younger brother works with British Transport Police and they refer to it as "one under". After 25 years he has gone past the sympathy stage and now has the "selfish bastard" viewpoint.

He says it keeps him sane.

27th Apr 2012, 09:55
When I was a mortgage adviser I did a mortgage for a driver at Virgin Cross Country. During his career he said six people had jumped in front of his engine killing themselves. He didn't seem to phased by that but I suppose it takes all sorts.

I'm now a police officer and along with my colleagues we get called to a lot of 'concern for welfare' jobs each week involving someone threatening to kill themselves. The people who call us saying that they want to kill themselves generally don't do it unless they make a mistake, however 2 - 3 times a month we get called to successful suicides. In these cases we only see the aftermath although giving death messages is not pleasant.

We also have a street drinker on our patch who tried to kill himself by laying on the tracks near a local station. He got arrested and charged with an offence, with his behaviour also contributing to getting as ASBO on him. This guy is a complete waste of space and is a drain on everyone's resources. Not withstanding his 'suicide' attempt the sooner his kidneys completely pack up the better.

27th Apr 2012, 10:04
Not a new phenomena, I'm afraid. One guy who went from the footplate to the signal box in the early 1950s had on several occasions to help searching the line for bits of body.

In Anthony Trollope's novel 'The Prime Minister', published in 1876, Ferdinand Lopez commits suicide at what is obviously Willesden junction station. So ever since Huskisson was killed by a train at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester in 1830, people have been doing by accident - as in his case - or by design.

What is probably even more frightening for the driver is the trick that seemed to be common with kids around Doncaster in the late 60's. Wait for a DMU to come along, and then jump onto the track and lie flat in the ballast in the four foot way.

In hospital the other year, I met a guy who had been a fireman on Rhodesia Railways. He told me of the mess when they hit an elephant one night at 80 mph.....If you did that with a modern EMU, you could well have an injured driver.

Windy Militant
27th Apr 2012, 10:15
A hell of a way to spend your working day.
My Cousin worked the Southern region until he had a couple of Jumpers.
He gave up working the main line and works the shunting yards these days.
Stay lucky mate.

Worrals in the wilds
27th Apr 2012, 10:22
How did you know that? I would have thought nothing more of a PA like that Mates with work cars/trucks that have lots of flashy lights. If there's a power outage or a fallen tree on the line they'll say so. If there's no explanation, you know what it is.

The current approach is not to talk about it for fear of inspiring copycats. I don't know if that's the best option or if it would be better to discuss the problem.
He told me of the mess when they hit an elephant one night at 80 mph....:eek::eek::eek:. That would make hitting a cow look pretty tame by comparison.

Skydiver69, the guy sounds like a PITA. Glad you charged him, not that it will change his behaviour. :sad:
You also take it easy and look after yourself. Some people are oxygen thieves; most people aren't. When you spend your working week dealing with the oxygen thieves it can be hard to remember that. Don't get to the stage where you hate humanity. You probably work with old-timers who are already there. :}

27th Apr 2012, 10:27
Guy I used to know was a London underground driver. He got invalided out of his job after what he said was his 13th 'one under'. I remember talking to him in the pub and he mentioned that the incident that had recently upset him was when a dog ran onto the track in front of his train and he hit it. As he said the jumpers had chosen to do it and he had no sympathy, but he did feel sorry for the dog.

Victor Inox
27th Apr 2012, 10:51
I'm totally with Jeremy Clarkson on how selfish train jumpers are. There must be other/better ways to top yourself without inconvenience to the wider public and causing grief to the train drivers.

27th Apr 2012, 11:57
A variant of the "one under" can be found here in Edinburgh where people jump from the North Bridge on to (and through) the glass roof of Waverley Station. What is it about railways?

27th Apr 2012, 14:08
Train jumpers, or anyone who commits suicide for that matter, may indeed be selfish.

But when you think about it, it takes a lot of balls to take your life and is probably not something one undertakes lightly.

Think about it. We as human beings have an innate sense of survival. some humans have undertaken amazing feats to ensure survival of either themselves or others. (Mother lifting a car to rescue a trapped toddler, for example.)
To go completely against this inner sense and then to take ones' own life really does require an almost superhuman bearing.

Don't get me wrong, suicide is wrong and it is selfish. And it leaves those left behind in a very bad way. But to go against ones' inner self and ones' survival instincts is something to think about.

27th Apr 2012, 14:19
Having dealt with a loved one who decided the only option was to take their own life, I do have a lot of sympathy for people who are this desperate. However, I struggle to find sympathy for people who decide to take their own life in one of the most selfish ways possible. Causing distress to your friends and family is one thing, but potentially ruining someone else's is another thing :bored:

Only the other a week a teenage girl decided to jump off Level 13 of the multi story car park at Manchester Airport, landing on top of a vehicle a couple of meters away from the airside smoking area :{

27th Apr 2012, 16:47
Only the other a week a teenage girl decided to jump off Level 13 of the multi story car park at Manchester Airport, landing on top of a vehicle a couple of meters away from the airside smoking area

There was a similar incident in the City of London a couple of years ago. There's a building with a fancy restaurant and a roof garden nested in-between two busy roads...... individual ventured up to roof, leapt off ...... and thud, straight onto the roof of a passing double-decker bus !

27th Apr 2012, 16:47
Depressed people don't want to die. They just don't want to live.
How true! . . .

27th Apr 2012, 16:50
I have some knowledge of this subject and the despair and lack of hope that drives people to take their own lives, and I know two train drivers who between them have had four 'jumpers'. It has profoundly affected their lives.

What is under discussion here, disregarding the callous and frivolous remarks, is the manner in which this is done. Suicide is, mostly, and I would exclude from this those who have terminal illnesses and so on, an act of selfishness. To compound that selfishness by risking the lives of other people, causing them distress and inconvenience, is unacceptable, but it's easy to say that when not faced with the prospect.

I would imagine that people who jump under trains and off motorway bridges do not do so as a premeditated act, but rather on impulse. Few people would have the courage to do it with forethought and in cold blood, knowing that the likely result could be serious injury and pain, and not the required quick death.

I wonder, if faced with the prospect, what some of us would do?

27th Apr 2012, 18:28
There is this documentary called "The Bridge"
The Bridge (2006) - IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0799954/)
Steel and his crew filmed the Golden Gate bridge during daylight hours from two separate locations for all of 2004, recording most of the two dozen suicides in that year (and preventing several others). They also taped interviews with friends, families and witnesses, who recount in sorrowful detail stories of struggles with depression, substance abuse and mental illness.

A tough documentary to watch.
Inside you can see the ones who regrets their suicide move .... They start pedalling in the air.
Jumping from a bridge is not really like jumping in front of a train, you probably have the time to think about what you've just done on your way down.
Knowing full well there is no turn back :(

Out of the two dozen they filmed, only one didn't. :eek:

This being said, I feel for you McGoonagall and all the train drivers/paramedics/rescuers who have to deal with those kind of events.
Someone who want to kill himself will never think of the body mess they can leave behind to be picked up. That their move can be hopelessly witnessed (is that a sentence !?)

27th Apr 2012, 19:09
Not the way I would choose to go, should I ever contemplate that choice :uhoh:

Stay up late, drink some booze, tape a plastic bag around your head and go to bed, never to wake up.

Cheap, readily available, neat, painless - and the person finding the body doesn't even have to see your face, much less cut you down/clean up splatter/pick up pieces.

27th Apr 2012, 19:16
Without trying to come across in the wrong way, I somewhat respect those who decide to take their own lives by means of gas poisoning, whether it be exhaust fumes or chemical mixtures, with a note on the door / window warning those who are unlucky enough to make the 'discovery' of what lies beyond. It avoids unnecessary stress to members of the emergency services who may not want to deal with the aftermath.

Of course, seeking proper help before things escalate to that stage would be a much better solution.

27th Apr 2012, 19:50
tape a plastic bag around your head

That's what I would choose. Not drunk any booze for over thirty years, but in those circumstances..........why not?

tony draper
27th Apr 2012, 19:58
Much easier in my day,a shilling in the meter, pillow in the gas oven for comfort,turn on the gas,lay head on pillow and that's all she wrote.

Well we made our own coal gas(poisonous) in those days none of this health and safety furrin imported gas we are cursed with now.
In Victorian times the cut throat razor seemed to be favored,tilt head back feel for the carotid, one quick stroke and bobs yer uncle,one's scrotum shrivels even at the thought,they knew how to self harm in those days.
If it ever comes to it,one shall have a accident whilst cleaning one's Webley, like a gentleman.

27th Apr 2012, 20:49
Don't get me wrong, suicide is wrong and it is selfish.

I think by the time an individual reaches this point, he's not actually selfish, he's very poorly.

I really do feel for the people driving the trains, and I'm not sure what the answer is ?

Better detection, better services or better fences:confused:

flying lid
27th Apr 2012, 20:56
My mate's cousin is a retired train driver ex Springs Branch depot Wigan. He told us of once a body bouncing off the window of his electric loco at 100mph whilst passing under a bridge near Lancaster. His comment was "I slammed on the brakes & put on the windscreen washers & wipers, came to a stand in Lancaster station, called the police, informed the signalbox at Preston to shut the line, inspected the loco, washed off the blood, then off again up to Glasgow". No shut the railway & crime scene, phsycriatric counselling etc back in the 70's.

Another gruesome tale he told was a fellow driver on a steam loco back in the 60's ran over someone. Said driver walked up to the signalbox to inform the signalman, and as proof took with him a severed limb !! True or not I don't know, but probably true knowing a few old Wigan railwaymen.

I was on a train in France around 1990, Paris to Luxembourg. We were going along at a fair old speed when on went the brakes - hard. I've never experienced a train stop as quick from high speed, nothing flying around but we knew it was an emergency stop. Then we stood for over an hour. Nobody knew what was going on untill the guard walked along & informed us "Mort" something or other. Unable to pop your head out of the window as the train was quite modern with sealed windows. Anyhow we had topped someone grand style. We had a connection to make to a German train to Trier, it was now near midnight, but the connection was held and we made it home that night.

Not a nice subject, but it happens. Ain't a new phenomenom either.


Gertrude the Wombat
27th Apr 2012, 20:57
I know two train drivers who between them have had four 'jumpers'. It has profoundly affected their lives.
I guess that dealing with this is not part of the initial training for the job?

It isn't in some other jobs, either. A friend was a midwife, but just couldn't cope with losing a baby one minute (which is bound to happen from time to time) and then carrying on being perfectly cheerful with the next mother ten minutes later. She isn't a midwife any more.

27th Apr 2012, 22:38
Another variation on this sad theme. A guy driving a landrover broke into the airside at Antigua some years ago. He parked the landrover in front of a taxying BA 747, and when it stopped he jumped into the # 2 engine. P&W -7 fan engines make efficient mincers! It took some time to clean up the mess. Really feel for the train drivers who have to face such horror each day.

27th Apr 2012, 22:42
I think by the time an individual reaches this point, he's not actually selfish, he's very poorly.Indeed, after my last one I was asked to see a clinical psychologist to provide feedback from a drivers point of view. I was perhaps not the ideal candidate as many years in the forces had maybe led me to develop a different way of dealing with what he called psychological trauma. He was right in saying that I was very good at blocking feelings and discarding them as unwanted. However, after discussing the incident he remarked that far from being selfish in their actions the person thinks that he/she is a burden and the least selfish thing to do is for him/her to die to remove that burden from others.

I can not be judgmental in this, other than saying that the amount of support that we as a civilised country provide for our mentally ill is woefully inadequate.


27th Apr 2012, 22:47
the amount of support that we as a civilised country provide for our mentally ill is woefully inadequate.
There is no 'emergency' provision - ie you cannot walk-in to a hospital emergency reception and be seen by a psychiatric professional.

27th Apr 2012, 22:51
A guy worked for me once turned up to collect his night's work, just as he had for the few months he'd been on the books. Next night, no show. So we phoned up to find out where he was. Turned out to be the morgue. His wife had left him & evidently it was too much to bear & he'd run a hose from the exhaust into the car.

I'd seen him the night before & not a hint of a troubled soul. This was twenty years ago & I've seen much death natural & not since then & that one troubles me to this day.

27th Apr 2012, 23:22
Attended a funeral of a young who took his own life. I grew up with his mothers family and a couple of my kids knew the young lad fairly well. Looking around at the amount of young people at the funeral was disconcerting to say the least.
When looking at the anguish on the mother and father's faces her brother said to me maybe if he (the deceased) could see this he might have thought twice at the hurt he caused..

27th Apr 2012, 23:31
It's very difficult to predict that awful final outcome. Feelings of guilt are unlikely to prevent it.

Always useful to ask how people are feeling. Mental health issues can sometimes be seen as a bit of a Stigma, but it's worth remembering that suicide is the biggest cause of death in young men. And can be preventable.

If you're worried about someone, get them assessed by a professional:)

27th Apr 2012, 23:33
Not strictly on topic, but I'm aquainted with the driver of a London underground train, which was blown up by a suicide bomber. In the appalling immediate aftermath he had to deal with a dozen and a half very severely injured survivors, his passengers. He's obviously been through the mill ever since but now his main annoyance seems to be the apparent delay in receiving help from the emergency services.

27th Apr 2012, 23:55
his main annoyance seems to be the apparent delay in receiving help from the emergency services. This was, apparently, a conscious decision as they feared further incidents and didn't want to involve the rescuers as casualties.

My son (http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c19/GroupCaptain/DSCN0752.jpg) was one of the physically-uninjured in the adjacent carriage.
He never talked about it, but it took him many months to recover.

Worrals in the wilds
28th Apr 2012, 01:15
It would have been a vile experience for everyone concerned. :(
Is your son also a copper G-CPTN, or did I remember that wrongly?

28th Apr 2012, 12:17
the amount of support that we as a civilised country provide for our mentally ill is woefully inadequate.
There is no 'emergency' provision - ie you cannot walk-in to a hospital emergency reception and be seen by a psychiatric professional.

You can do exactly that. There will be a duty psychiatrist and access to the mental health team.

28th Apr 2012, 13:21
There was a café by the harbour in Empuriabrava run by a Catalan married couple, husband C & wife D. Nice people, multilingual, friendly, liked by all. The sort of café that's an institution where everyone drops in at least once a week to catch up with the news.

One day C left a note for his wife D, "I've gone to kill myself, you'll find my body on the train tracks in Figueras". Wife drives over to the spot he mentioned, there's the police and ambulance, he certainly had, head one side of the tracks and body on the other.

Now the strange thing about this is that none of us (and there were a big crowd of customers) had an inkling of anything wrong, either business or personnel, in C & D's lives that would lead to this.

And to this day the only thing I ever heard said was "he'd be the last person you would think would go and kill himself".

Makes you wonder what's going on in the heads of people around you, even though most of them look quite normal.....

28th Apr 2012, 14:42
Shift of thread but related......Just came back from shopping, and noticed that where the road goes over the railway, there's a great chunk of brick bridge parapet with mortar broken, looking as if it could fall on the railway. Now finding a number for Notwork Rail civil engineering on a Saturday afternoon isn't on. So I called the police non-emergency number. Just had a pair of PCSOs come to tell me that according to notwork rail, the Swindon to Cheltenham railway is unused........which the PCSOs found incredible, as they see trains on it every day!

Plus it's due to be returned to double track next year and electrified to provide the alterative electrified route to South Wales other than the Severn Tunnel.

But hopefully the situation will get checked so some poor driver doesn't hit a great chunk of brickwork at 90mph. That would probably be worse than a jumper...

28th Apr 2012, 15:54
The irony of course being that most people attempting/successful at suicide have mental health issues, are likely to cause the same in others who witness said acts.

I witnessed a violent suicide a few years back, luckily for me I had access to appropriate services and feel quite unaffected by it now but at the time it was pretty horrific. I bet there are many more who for whatever reason cannot pass it by so easily or do not have access to immediate, professional trauma counselling. The effects can be life changing.

While these poor people are no doubt in a tormented state of mind it does make me wonder if something is 'missing' to make them so disregard the effects on others- I personally think the 'drive out to a remote place and take care of it in a neat way' is much better than jumping on front of some poor train driver and thus traumatise a whole train full of people. I've been on a train that hit a jumper and you just know what happened... no PA necessary. The silence in that train was deafening :(

28th Apr 2012, 15:58
There is no 'emergency' provision - ie you cannot walk-in to a hospital emergency reception and be seen by a psychiatric professional.

Utter tosh.

I quote from the NHS website :

In an emergency, if your GP surgery is closed, go to a hospital’s A&E desk and ask to see the psychiatrist on duty. You can also call NHS Direct 24 hours a day, on 0845 4647.

28th Apr 2012, 16:21
That might be true now, but some years ago I was told to 'go home and contact my usual psychiatrist' - who was only available by appointment at least two weeks in advance . . .
I could never get urgent consultations.

I had taken the precaution of travelling into the city where there was a hospital with psychiatric wards attached.
It was, however, a Sunday.

28th Apr 2012, 16:35
When we as Police detain someone under s.136 of the mental health act we have to take them to a place of safety which is usually the local hospital or secure psychiatric unit. We then contact the force Dr who will arrange for a social worker to attend to assess the detainee. If the patient accompanies the police on a voluntary basis to the hospital then their on call psychiatrist will see them and then arrange a follow up out patient appointment with the local crisis team. One way or another help is available 24/7 albeit it sometimes take a little while to arrange.

The last s.136 I was with had to be baby sat for about 8 hours whilst they sobered up before the force Dr would see him. The one before that was in and out in a mere 6 hours!

28th Apr 2012, 17:20
I'm not sure about the UK but in Oz the people I saw I was referred to by the police after they took a witness statement from me. The particular outfit I saw was by referral only, however once you were 'on the books' you could come back for low-cost appointments at any later date, even for seemingly 'unrelated' stuff, not just trauma counselling. I suppose they had the idea that sometimes the initial event effects could flow into other areas of your life (relationships etc)

Even now I could walk in almost 7 years later and I know they would see me. In my case it was arranged through a local women's crisis centre, not sure if they have any similar setups for men, but it can be worth enquiring through your GP about local/community resources if you can't access through the regular channels (either too long to wait or out of range of finances) At the time I was only working part time and they pretty much said "pay what you can afford". Later when I got fulltime work I paid more to offset the earlier low-cost service and hopefully cover the appointments of someone who had been in my shoes.

There is help out there if you need it, try every channel, even your local Salvos/church/community centre might able to get you in somewhere that you can't just walk into as a private patient.

28th Apr 2012, 18:23
the amount of support that we as a civilised country provide for our mentally ill is woefully inadequate. There is no 'emergency' provision - ie you cannot walk-in to a hospital emergency reception and be seen by a psychiatric professional.

That' just not true. If you're presented by omeone who is acutely suicidal, then it's as much as an emergency as someone suffering chest pain.

A+E or 999.

28th Apr 2012, 18:29
Pleased to hear it.

On another occasion my GP was able to fix me up with a counsellor at short notice.

28th Apr 2012, 20:29
That's good to hear.

Of course it's a matter of assessing the risk, as people present at either end's of the spectrum, from feeling like they don't want to be here, (don't we all feel like that at some stage?!) to going to B&Q and buying the rope. (It's happened!).

People in primary care aren't generally trained psychatrists, but do (or should) have some training as to how we measure that degree of risk. A large degree of our consultations have some sort of mental health component.

Certain factors (making a plan to kill oneself, that plan being violent-eg train, social isolation, past attempts, alcohol/drug use etc) raise our index of suspicion that his person is serious about making an attempt on his or her life.

"Talking therapies," whilst extremely important for people with mental health problems, aren't a priority at the acute stage, maintaining safety for the patient is.

Of course, we don't always get it right, and I think all of us in the job are haunted by the times we've got it wrong. I certainly am.

28th Apr 2012, 20:56
Really off topic...

After protracted battles with Notwork Rail, they eventually accepted that there was a bridge on a railway line that was potentially dangerous....

That took eventually 4 hours.............. Their maps couldn't even find a line they run passenger trains on!

I have emailed the Rail Accidents Investigation Board - there is obviously a hole in the safety procedures. I am thinking that perhaps ASLEF might be interested in this - it potentially affects their members.

28th Apr 2012, 21:13
There should be an identification plate on the bridge.

This is usually in a prominent position.

flying lid
28th Apr 2012, 21:17
Radeng, most if not all bridges where the road goes UNDER a railway have large notices giving emergency contact tel nos, bridge no & location etc in case of a bridge strike by a vehicle. These are not placed on bridges where the road goes OVER a railway. Your case seems to prove a point for their urgent provision.


28th Apr 2012, 21:20
These are not placed on bridges where the road goes OVER a railway.Did this not change after the Selby incident (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Heck_Rail_Crash) where a LandRover and trailer was driven onto the track?

corbridge - Google Maps (http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=corbridge&hl=en&ll=54.967416,-2.02775&spn=0.022566,0.072098&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=11.905102,36.914063&hnear=Corbridge,+Northumberland,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=14&layer=c&cbll=54.96748,-2.027769&panoid=ReAsul57OO5sT0TOi6qQ_g&cbp=12,111.55,,1,20.74)

flying lid
28th Apr 2012, 21:43
This is the sort of sign I mean. Usually seen by the roadside. I don't recall seing any giving contact info on overbridges, though I stand to be corrected.


After the horrific Selby incident many motorway bridges over main railway lines had there barriers / parapets / walls rebuilt, but obviously you can't make every bridge totally risk free. A plate as above on every railway bridge would help, and not cost too much either.


28th Apr 2012, 21:48
corbridge - Google Maps (http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=corbridge&hl=en&ll=54.966244,-2.018797&spn=0.000711,0.002513&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=11.905102,36.914063&hnear=Corbridge,+Northumberland,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=54.966306,-2.018797&panoid=E7ZmVWBlUd9VF2mxGA9OnQ&cbp=12,101.68,,2,19.73)

corbridge - Google Maps (http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=corbridge&hl=en&ll=54.966244,-2.018797&spn=0.000711,0.002513&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=11.905102,36.914063&hnear=Corbridge,+Northumberland,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=54.966306,-2.018797&panoid=E7ZmVWBlUd9VF2mxGA9OnQ&cbp=12,101.68,,0,19.73)

29th Apr 2012, 00:08
Railway Group Standard
Issue Two
Date October 2009

Lineside Operational Safety Signs

Sign CD01: Bridge Strike
Mandated by Railway Group Standard GC/RT5122.
Meaning: Action to be taken by people who have witnessed a bridge being struck by a vehicle.
Size: The standard dimensions shall be used.
Presentation: Rectangular as shown with a white background and red border.
The bridge identity shall be unique, and it is permissible for it to be complemented by the OS Grid reference.
The Infrastructure Controller shall assess the requirement for retro-reflectivity.
Lettering and Digits: The text shall be black. The Rail Alphabet typeface shall be used.
Positioning: The sign shall be positioned to be visible from the road concerned, and on or near the bridge.
Readability: Readable by pedestrians at street level. The infrastructure controller shall assess the most appropriate positioning.


Railway Group Standard GC/RT5122

1 Purpose
This Railway Group Standard defines principal actions to reduce the likelihood and limit the severity of Bridge Strikes and sets out the minimum procedures for the management of such incidents.
2 Scope This Railway Group Standard applies to:
• all bridges owned by Railtrack carrying rail traffic over roads and navigable waterways;
• all bridges carrying road traffic over the railway.

(My bold)

flying lid
29th Apr 2012, 10:57
Ah ! So all road / rail bridges SHOULD have one. I shall look at the bridge nearby where a dual c/way crosses the London - Glasgow main line. I don't recall one, but next time I'll have a close look (not whilst driving though !!).

Back on topic, as I live alongside the above busy line, there was (untill replaced by a footbridge around 10 years ago) a foot crossing across the line. Reputably the scene of a few suicides over the years. Non since the bridge & fencing built, but we now have had one recently in the local station.


Worrals in the wilds
29th Apr 2012, 11:22
Whereas our local boffins consider this is sufficient...There are still a lot of these west of the Divide. There is the odd accident (the last one I remember was a truck and a train, fatal for the truckie :sad:) but I don't recall hearing about suicides. Probably they happen but don't get reported.
I went walking with Mum one afternoon in the (relatively) big smoke and to our delight we found that a nearby railway pedestrian overpass had its barricades taken down for repair. We stood on top and waved to the driver as a train came through, just like we used to in the Ol' Days when I was shorter and she was taller; I still remember seeing him flinch when he saw us up there. :sad:

We didn't mean to scare him, but I guess he saw us and thought the worst. He recovered and waved back, but it left us in a darker mood.

Sad that some people can't see a better option, sad that some people have a cool job driving trains :cool: and have to worry about it every day they go to work. :(

29th Apr 2012, 11:37
Us lads used to stand on the bridge and spit down the funnel, trying to put the fire out.

tony draper
29th Apr 2012, 11:53
We used to stand on the bridge at Low Fell Station and try and drop pebbles down Sir Nigel'd chimney pot as he thundered underneath.

Worrals in the wilds
29th Apr 2012, 11:56
Did you ever succeed (with the pebbles, not the spitting which was probably a bit optimistic:\)?

29th Apr 2012, 11:59
Regrettably, I didn't note the bridge number - roughly painted on, and also the distance from Paddington in miles and chains. But I doubt it would have helped - he was adamant there was no railway line. When I suggested he checked with Swindon Panel Box - who control it - he said he'd never heard of a panel box!

Was going to watch 'Earl of Mount Edgecombe' go through, but it's too damn wet for train spotting.

Mr D. - so it's your fault that Sir Nigel is still a bit poorly, then? Hopefully will be running very soon on the NYMR if it isn't now, but over £80k of repairs. The SNGLPT needs £750k by 2015 to fund the next major overhaul.

Worrals in the wilds
29th Apr 2012, 12:06
There is a local judge who is a known train spotter. People like him anyway...:\
Anyway, some villain who was appearing before him (and didn't know about his hobby/obsession, apparently nor did his defence counsel) decided to run a defence involving the claim that he'd caught a particular train. A question from the bench stymmied his whole argument; 'Well actually the XYZ line never has an ABC train on it, so you couldn't have been travelling on that train at that time, what's your excuse'? Excuse ran something along the lines of 'Aargh, gasp, bugger.'

Duly convicted and the whole jury left saying things like 'The wigged dude knows his trains. Judges, they know everything'.:E
Train spotters have their uses...:}

uffington sb
29th Apr 2012, 12:50

Why don't you go to goggle street view, get the number and report it to NR on the helpline number 08457 114141.

29th Apr 2012, 14:28
He did eventually find it......said the emergency team for Wiltshire would look at it last night. The line's open today so they probably decided it's not urgent. Though the same was said about Dryclough Junction and Kemble...

1st May 2012, 13:29
Follow up to last Saturday

The Railways Accident Investigation people have telephoned me: they are concerned about the apparent inability of the Network Rail emergency number to respond quickly, and are passing the matter to the Office of Rail Regulation, whose responsibility this is.

Hopefully, this will plug a hole that so far, nobody has fallen into - but could.

1st May 2012, 13:38
lid: the road-over-railway bridge down the road from me certainly has contact instructions in the event of vehicle strike, and emphasises contact on the strike before calling the usual emergency services.

8th May 2012, 19:45
06.55 this morning just as the night shift were finishing the local CCTV controller saw a body laying at the base of a local multi-story car park. Q many night shift officers tipping out followed by the day shift. Needless to say the male was dead but one of my colleagues had to check for sign of life then go through his pockets looking for ID. Apparently when reviewing the CCTV the end of his fall had also been recorded.

It was a sobering way to end a shift. He wasn't the first to jump from that car park and he won't be the last. Its really unfortunate that the people who really need help don't get it and end up killing themselves.

8th May 2012, 20:59
Not wishing to delve into the psychology of suicides, but I would guess that if you are so seriously depressed that ending it all is the only option, then you must choose a method which is guaranteed to be successful. After all, what could be more devastating than attempting suicide and then realising you have failed? All the non-messy methods run the risk of either not working properly, or being discovered before death has occurred. The only sure-fire way to end it all is to choose a method so sudden and violent that failure is not an option. Hence the popularity of jumping in front of trains, off multi-storeys etc.

Lon More
8th May 2012, 21:15
We used to stand on the bridge at Low Fell Station and try and drop pebbles down Sir Nigel'd chimney pot as he thundered underneath.

Unfortunately the yoof of today does the same thing with paving slabs.

I remember a Cadet at Hamble being given the chop ; he took a Chipmunk and dived it into the Solent.

8th Jun 2012, 01:14
One of our Australian newspapers is running a bit of a 'series' on this issue at the moment, and I have found their articles balanced and illuminating:

A LIFE ends violently on Victoria's railway tracks almost every week. And with each bloody fatality, the high cost falls upon grieving families, traumatised train drivers and the wider community.

It is a confronting and rarely told story beyond cold, rail-hard statistics, because of the nature of most of the deaths. Figures obtained exclusively by The Age show 46 people died on the state's rail network between July 1, 2010, and the end of June last year.

Most cases were suicides, according to Transport Safety Victoria statistics, with an average of 34 people a year using Victoria's rail network to take their own lives since 2006.

While overall suicide rates in Victoria are falling, according to the mental health support network Mindframe, the state's railway suicide toll is the highest in the country, leading to calls from state government departments for train fatality blackspots to be made ''suicide proof''.

Officials point to the 90 per cent of Victoria's railway lines that are unfenced. Yet, according to state government figures from 2007-08, the entire metropolitan network could be fenced for about $82 million, $130 million less than the cost of the Baillieu government's promise to deploy 940 armed protective service officers at train stations.

Five years ago, researchers from Melbourne University's Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health described rail suicides as an ''emerging public health problem'' to be treated as a high priority.
But despite widespread concerns, the issue has been hidden from the public because of a taboo on the recording and media reporting of suicides. Little, if any, action has been taken.

Now, mental health experts recommend a new approach to suicide reporting by the media that neither hides nor softens a major public health, workplace safety and community issue.

Nevertheless, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau does not count suicides in the official figures of rail fatalities.

These deaths can cause havoc with the rail system.
Melbourne's former rail operator, Connex, estimated that in less than three years suicides had caused immediate travel delays that represented 23 years of lost productivity.

During the same period, the trauma to employees led to the loss of more than 2000 working days and a counselling bill of nearly $50,000.
Metro and V/Line refused to comment on what support they gave drivers involved in fatalities or, indeed, on anything regarding suicides or deaths on the network.

A Metro spokesman told The Age the issue was too sensitive for staff. ''This is a complex area that we don't feel needs any public discussion,'' he said.

Yet Metro is a partner in a new national public awareness campaign, TrackSAFE (http://www.tracksafefoundation.com.au/site/), launched last month, which aims to cut rail deaths, including suicides.

Train drivers, some of whom have witnessed several deaths, have told The Age they are haunted by the last moments of people they have watched die.

One driver was involved in an accident that killed a three-year-old boy in Wallace, near Ballarat, last year and another has been diagnosed with a serious mental disorder as a result of at least five deaths under his trains in a 30-year career.

Another driver described feeling like a Vietnam War veteran because of a lack of acknowledgement of the trauma he had experienced.
Andrea Phelps, the Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health's acting director of policy and service development, said it was important for drivers' mental health that their experiences be validated by the general community.

Drivers' trauma was often heightened by being powerless to prevent an imminent death, she said.

Mental health expert and former Australian of the year Patrick McGorry said the mental health of train drivers was at risk daily. But he said those who took their own lives were desperate and it was important not to forget their grieving families and loved ones.

''I feel really sorry for the drivers and also all the families traumatised when people die. Trauma is very damaging for [the drivers'] mental health,'' Professor McGorry said. ''It's a massive occupational health and safety hazard for these people.''

He welcomes recently updated media guidelines (http://www.sane.org/stigmawatch/for-the-media/media-resources/1007-summary-of-mindframe-guidelines-for-media-reporting-of-suicide) on suicide reporting. They are part of the government-backed Mindframe mental health initiative.

Professor McGorry said a taboo on discussing suicide meant many Australians were unaware more people died as a result of suicide than in road accidents.

Read more: Trauma The Hidden Toll of Victorian Railway Deaths (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/hidden-tragedy-of-rail-suicides-20120603-1zq87.html#ixzz1x9z4MFYm)

8th Jun 2012, 01:16
The day Kate stood in front of a train, intent on dying, she was in her 30s with a supportive husband and two daughters, aged almost one and three, that she adored.

She also had a darkness clouding her mind, which meant she believed beyond doubt that ending her life was "100 per cent the right thing to do".
"I just saw everything regarding myself from a negative point of view - I was bad, everything I had done was bad and it would be better if my husband and children continued their lives without me," she said.
Advertisement: Story continues below
What you can do to prevent suicide. (http://www.theage.com.au/national/what-you-can-do-to-prevent-suicide-20120607-1zyi0.html?rand=1339068591561)

Kate had been in an unsecured psychiatric ward for two weeks and had already attempted to take her life once. She felt her mental health deteriorating and decided to end it all.

"It sounds so terribly selfish when you're well but when you're unwell it's like you just have no empathy for other people," she said.

"It's all about yourself and how bad you are and how much you have to get rid of yourself.

"It's hell - no end to feeling like that, no light at the end of the tunnel."
Kate went to a railway track and watched and waited. A train thundered towards her and without hesitation she pursued death. In the final moments before impact, she stumbled.

"I have some sensation of lying underneath the train and people coming ... one leg was completely severed and the other leg was hanging on and then I must have blacked out," Kate said.

She woke in hospital disappointed to be alive, a feeling compounded when doctors amputated her remaining leg.

Twenty-seven years later, Kate knows that depression had distorted her thinking and, with the help of anti-depressants and prosthetic legs, has emerged from the blackness to lead a rewarding and productive life.

She is deeply grateful for the support of her family. And she has never stopped thinking about the train driver she involved in her trauma and his or her family.

"I wish I could meet with that person and apologise profusely for what I must have put him through because I think that that would be just the most dreadful experience," she said.

Paul Morgan, deputy director of mental health charity SANE Australia, said evidence suggested that the majority of people who killed themselves had a mental illness, often untreated.

The Age has revealed that although the state's overall suicide rate is dropping, there are more train suicides in Victoria than anywhere else in the country, with devastating consequences for rail staff.

Despite research into "suicide proofing" measures, families who have lost loved ones have told The Age that investment in mental health care is the best way to tackle the toll.

Caroline Storm has been a mental health advocate since her 40-year-old daughter, Anne, died in a rail suicide 10 years ago. Ms Storm said Victoria's mental health system was unable to cope with thousands of untreated severe mentally ill people, some of whom ended up taking their own lives.

She said the issue of rail and other suicides needed to be publicly discussed and backed suggestions for the monthly state suicide toll to be published alongside the road toll, which it exceeds.

Jill lost her father 10 years ago when he ended his life on a Victorian railway line and every day she asks herself "why?". She knows her own family's tragedy also affected a train driver and his or her family and as well as emergency workers and others who attended the scene.

Jill said while she supported barriers being placed around known fatality blackspots, it was more important to find effective and useful treatments for those afflicted with mental illness.

"They are wonderful, clever, productive, lovely people who we are losing in this manner. I know this as my dad was all these things," she said.

Read more: Broken but alive: rail trauma survivor's hope - and regret (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/broken-but-alive-rail-trauma-survivors-hope--and-regret-20120607-1zy7d.html#ixzz1x9zjdDCm)

19th Jun 2012, 06:56
An extract from Teens meet on Facebook to talk about suicide (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8486080/teens-come-together-on-facebook-to-talk-suicide)

Creating a Facebook page filled with stories similar to this one seems like a risky idea but for two Melbourne high school students, it needed to happen.
Swinburne Senior Secondary College students Jessica Cummings, 17, and Thom Hartland, 18, started the "Coming Together to Prevent Youth Suicide" (http://www.facebook.com/groups/454771364536057/)Facebook group after a number of their close friends killed themselves.
The three teenage boys each separately threw themselves onto train tracks around Berwick within six months of each other.
At least 12 young people have been killed on train tracks in Victoria since March, 2011.
Three weeks ago, Jessica and Thom were looking at ways to change things and decided to create an online space where people could talk about how youth suicide could be prevented.
Instead, it turned into a forum where people spoke openly about a subject which is often considered taboo.
"At the start, it wasn't what we were expecting. We were having a forum about the way we could fix things," committee member and friend Simone Adams told ninemsn.
"But in the past three weeks, there has only been one thing that I've deleted.
"People have been so amazingly supportive."
The group, which now has nearly 15,000 members, saw a huge explosion of interest which led to the formation of a committee to manage the page.

19th Jun 2012, 10:15
The only sure-fire way to end it all is to choose a method so sudden and violent that failure is not an option. Hence the popularity of jumping in front of trains, off multi-storeys etc.
Not as surefire as you may hope. D1's FIL (a rheumatologist) had a patient who was crippled for life when a jumper landed on her. The would-be suicide suffered no permanent injuries.

Re level crossings, I recall one in Cairns that had a sign "The train goes through here at 40mph - whether your car is on the track or not."