Experienced volunteers who save lives
Rail Pastors are trained volunteers who look out for
vulnerable and distressed people on the rail
Sadly, 305 people are believed to have taken
their own lives on the railway in 2015/16, with our officers being
called to 9,381 pre-suicidal and mental health incidents.
Our suicide prevention strategy includes
training for frontline staff and sees BTP staff sat side-by-side
with NHS community nurses, providing information for officers
involved in incidents on the ground.
Last year we made 1,269 life-saving
interventions, but we can always do more. We are committed to
working with mental health charities, the rail industry and
voluntary organisations to save lives on the railway. That’s where
Rail Pastors come in…
A reassuring presence in your time of crisis
Rail Pastors are a group of trained volunteers who are
based in areas which experience high numbers of suicidal
They were set up in August 2014 in response to a number of
suicides in the Barnet area. In their first year of operation, they
conducted 30 patrols, saved three lives and, as an indirect
outcome, reduced crime by 27 per cent.
pastors do not preach, but provide a caring, listening and
reassuring presence. Their mission is to reach out to people in
moments of crisis, offering compassion and understanding, taking
the time to listen to concerns in order to move the person to a
place of safety.
The scheme is a joint initiative between BTP, the Ascension
Trust, train operators, Network Rail and Samaritans, aimed at
saving lives and reducing disruption on the rail network.
The majority of Rail Pastors are already experienced Street
Pastors, who have received training on rail safety and security,
emergency procedures and have undertaken a Samaritans Managing
Suicidal Contacts course.
As of January 2017, there are 100 pastors operating out of five
schemes: Barnet, Barking and Dagenham, Reading, Fife and
Rail Pastor report
Rail Pastor’s complete a report for every
shift they undertake. Paul Lewis coordinates the Barnet scheme.
Here’s his account of a busy week in December 2016.
Paul Lewis's Rail Pastor report
We support Samaritans’ ‘We Listen’ campaign
which seeks to reduce the number of suicides on the railway.
If you need to talk to someone please visit Samaritans’ webpage or call
them free on