Support for those affected by traumatic rail incidents

Rail personnel who witness deaths or serious injuries, or are involved in the emergency response, can be affected by trauma. Samaritans, in conjunction with the Rail Industry Suicide Prevention Programme, is working hard to improve support available to those people.

How is Samaritans supporting rail staff?

Trauma affects people in different ways. Occasionally, rail staff involved in traumatic incidents, whether fatalities or accidents, feel extremely guilty, as though they were responsible for the event, or could have done more to prevent it. Although these feelings are almost always misplaced, they can prolong the trauma if not managed effectively. They may also experience anger, flashbacks and post-traumatic stress.

Samaritans deliver a one-day Trauma Support Training course to managers, to improve support available to those working in high risk roles e.g. drivers and Network Rail operations staff. The aim of the course is to highlight the trauma that may be caused including fatalities on the railway and techniques to assist recovery.

The course has been tailored to the needs of those supporting staff following a traumatic incident. Train drivers, ASLEF and driver Managers have helped developed the course.

An excellent introduction to the subject, which should be provided for all line managers who might have to deal with those involved in traumatic incidents.

How can I attend the Trauma Support Training course?

If you work within the rail industry in a management role or within a team that are at risk of being involved in traumatic rail incidents you can find out more about the Trauma Support Training course by emailing .

Are there other learning materials available to support staff?

In collaboration with Network Rail, British Transport Police, train operators and other stakeholders, Samaritans has developed two support booklets designed to prepare rail staff for what to expect should they be involved in a fatality, as well as provide information and guidance on seeking further support. The Journey to Recovery booklet was developed with drivers’ union ASLEF and includes accounts from train drivers involved in rail fatalities and how it affected them. The Back on Track booklet was developed to support all other roles within the rail industry, recognising the wider impact that a traumatic rail incident can have on a huge number of people. It includes an account from a Local Operations Manager.

Does the rail industry and Samaritans provide support in any other way?

All rail organisations have their own care programmes and procedures that employees are referred to after traumatic incidents. Samaritans also offer a post-incident support service to stations see post-incident support and other organisation such as the Railway Mission proactively offer support to rail staff.