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, we follow a strict procedure:

  • If the person was struck by a train it is necessarily brought to an immediate stop.  This leads to the line being blocked and possible subsequent delays to other trains in the area
  • The British Transport Police attend to take witness statements and determine if further investigation is required
  • A specialist funeral company will attend and remove the deceased
  • Our mobile operations team will then determine if the train is safe to proceed
  • As necessary a specialist cleaning team will be deployed to site
  • The driver of the train will be relieved of their duties (to allow the process of counselling to begin) and replaced

Of the fatalities on the railway in 2019/20:

  • Six occurred on a level crossing
  • 17 involved people trespassing on the railway
  • 283 were suicides or suspected suicides

Around 4.4 per cent of suicides in Great Britain 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 we’re doing to reduce fatalities

While our efforts in this area are clearly focussed on prevention, we have started working more closely with the BTP and have improved our procedures to reduce the time before rail services can resume.

Find out more