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Soothing blue platform lights will be trialled in stations to tackle the rise in track suicide


Soothing blue platform lights will be trialled in railway stations to tackle the rise in suicides on the tracks 

  • Network Rail will install calming blue lights on platforms at rail stations
  • Sensors to be added which are triggered when people reach platform edge
  • There have been 279 suicides or suspected suicides at stations this year
  • This is the highest number on record and up from 246 the previous year



Soothing blue lights will be installed in some rail stations in the hope it will stop the growing number of suicides.

Network Rail is undertaking a series of trials, including the blue lights in canopies and lighting studs on platforms.

It is also investigating the use of sensors which are triggered when people enter certain areas of the railway, such as the end of platforms, and then play a recorded announcement.

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Blue lights have already been installed in Gumyoji station, west of Tokyo, Japan. Network Rail will be trialling the lights to see if it has an impact on the number of suicides

There have been 279 suicides or suspected suicides on the rail network in 2013 to 2014, the highest number on record and up from 246 the previous year, according to official figures.

'We want to do everything we can to stop this from happening and, if it does, to help our people deal with it,' Ian Stevens, suicide prevention manager for Network Rail, told the Sunday Times.

Rail Safety and Standards Board revealed there were 29 suspected suicides in August and 28 during July. The monthly average over the past year has been 23.

Mary Stroman, 16, had talked about Tallulah Wilson's suicide and her mother said the death had 'played on Mary's mind'.

Mary Stroman, 16, threw herself in front of a train after  struggling to deal with the death of former classmate

The Samaritans have emphasised that the number of people who have killed themselves on the railways as a proportion of total suicides has increased.

Railway suicides represented 4.7 per cent of total suicides in 2012, up from 3.2 per cent in 2003 and 4.6 per cent in 2006.

The charity believes that financial pressures caused by the years of economic downturn may also have contributed.

'We have been coming out of a very big recession and the impact of the economic climate is very much being felt,' said Ola Rzepczynska, who has been heading a joint suicide prevention plan between the Samaritans and Network Rail.

'The real impacts are being felt in the most recent years.'

About 200 railway staff, British Transport police officers and Samaritan volunteers will hold a one-day conference in Coventry on Thursday to discuss what more can be done to prevent railway suicides.

Andrew Wellbeloved, 51, an operations manager for Network Rail, used his training two years ago when he was told that a man was standing on the tracks at a station in Cheshire. 

By the time Wellbeloved arrived the man had climbed back onto the platform, after an approaching train had stopped, but he remained highly distressed.

'I approached the man, who seemed to be confused and disorientated but [was] clearly in a state of despair,' Wellbeloved said.

'He told me he wanted to die. I told him that I had time to listen to him and asked him to come to my van with me. Thankfully, he agreed.'

In a separate incident Wellbeloved, from Flintshire , had to comfort a train driver at the scene of a fatality.

'He just said, 'Twenty-six years and this has never happened to me. I'm devastated.' You could hear his voice was shaking, there were tears in his eyes.'

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 9008457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or see www.samaritans.org. 


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2799053/soothing-blue-platform-lights-trialled-railway-stations-tackle-rise-suicides-tracks.html#ixzz3GtUmbGUe

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