A train platform coffee cart today became a focal point for commuter conversations on preventing railway suicides.
Network Rail, London Midland and Samaritans, the charity, placed the cart on the platform at Tile Hill railway station, near Coventry.
This is the latest move in the rail industry’s Small Talk Saves Lives campaign – encouraging commuters to look out for vulnerable people and have the confidence to talk to them and so interrupt their possible suicidal thoughts.
Martin Frobisher, managing director of Network Rail’s London North Western route business, said: “We want commuters to stop for a coffee and chat about how we can all help prevent suicides on the railway. This may seem like an odd thing to do but we want to change that. Suicide prevention needs to be part of our normal, everyday conversations and at the front of our minds.
“Just having a simple conversation about this heightens our awareness of the problem making us more likely to spot a vulnerable person. We are making small talk at our coffee cart in the hope train commuters will make their own small talk – and possibly save lives.”
Someone attempts to take their own life on Britain’s railways every 36 hours. For every life lost on the railway, six are saved thanks to trained rail staff and British Transport Police officers.
London Midland head of route, Steve Fisher, said: “Tile Hill is typical of many busy commuter stations and a great place to encourage small conversations that can make a massive difference to someone in need. Just one small intervention can save a life.”
Samaritans chief executive, Ruth Sutherland, said: “Suicide is everybody’s business and any one of us could have an opportunity to save a life. I’m sure we’d all hope that if it were our loved one at risk that people around them would act. We hope that Small Talk Saves Lives is the start of a much wider conversation about how suicide is not inevitable, it’s preventable.”
The coffee cart at Tile Hill will be run by a Samaritans-trained barista.