Paul’s story

Paul Stanford

Paul Stanford, head of programme management at Network Rail, recalls his lifesaving intervention one evening on a train home from Paddington.

"I sat down and became aware of a man who looked a bit tearful and flustered. The train manager checked if he was OK and I didn't think much more of it at the time.

"As we approached a station, the man stood up and walked through the carriage. He left his belongings on the table. At that point the man in the seat behind leant forward to keep the items safe.

"His bemusement that somebody would be trusting enough to leave their belongings unattended on a busy train turned to horror when he discovered a suicide note.

As soon as I heard the words 'suicide note' I got up out of my seat and strode through the carriages. I thought 'I can't let this man kill himself'.

"I made it right to the back of the train and there he was stood looking out of the window, which he had opened as far as it would go.

"He looked at me and said: 'leave me alone'. I told him who I was and who I worked for and simply said: 'You look distressed, can I help you?'

"The train manager had notified the British Transport Police while I was talking to the man. She then came down to see if she could help at all. By this point, I had my arm around the man and we were talking.

"The police boarded the train and I asked them what would happen next. They reassured me he wouldn't be left alone.

"I am no hero. I know there are many people at Network Rail who have done similar things and helped to save lives, and I am sure it will continue.

"Our partnership with Samaritans is helping us do even more to reduce suicides on the railways and we can't underestimate the power and importance of this work."

Find out more

Contact the Samaritans

Suicide prevention on the railway

Suicide prevention campaigns