4.1 Societal collaboration to prevent railway suicide

This measure is about a societal collaboration to prevent railway suicides and trespass. It is a joint venture between RU, IM, police, fire brigade/rescue services and health authorities. The service that first becomes aware of any person in the track area, request and receive a temporary traffic shut down. When the police, rescue services, SOS, railway staff or equivalent call and ask for a temporary traffic shutdown on the grounds that there is an unauthorized person in or near the track area.
  • Traffic stops of 5-10 minutes are used in preference to more serious incidents.
  • Temporary Traffic shut downs are carried out if the site is defined: ex. "North end of the platform B in X-town" and attendance is confirmed visually.
  • If the site should be declared as for example a town, a larger area, and attendance is not confirmed, there is no traffic shut down, but the drivers are informed about the supposed incident and there is a speed set down conducted (30 km/h on the operation site, 40 km/h on the line). The affected drivers are then asked to look if they see anyone in the track area.
  • When the railway staff or equivalent call and ask for traffic shut down, reports an odd behaviour or suspected unauthorized person in the track area, these indications are taken very seriously and Police / Security guard must always be called out. Importantly, the selected actions must be clearly communicated to the Police, rescue services, ambulances or other so that they are not given a false sense of security when entering the track area.
  • Any organization intending to enter rail operational areas must be given information necessary to ensure their safety. This may be provided by the IM or RU depending on the location involved and may require that there is no access to the location until safety arrangements are confirmed.
  • Some work would be needed to convince rail operators, regulators and government that this could work in different types of railways.
  • It is also very important that the psychiatric clinics are involved so that a person removed from the premises is taken care of properly. When the police, rescue services, SOS, railway staff or equivalent call and ask for a temporary traffic shutdown on the grounds that there is an unauthorized person in or near the track area.
  • In Sweden, this measure is motivated by “Vision Zero” and is supported by the government.
  • This relates to a decision to work collaboratively with various agencies working together (Sweden). It does not rely on the victim doing anything.
  • According to a quantitative analysis from Sweden (during a seven month test period), 40 of the 64 persons intending to commit suicide have been found and brought to psychiatric care by the police. Very few suicide prevention measures are as close to potential suicidal persons and have the opportunity to influence the outcome in the same way as this type of societal collaboration. The participants have a great faith in the effectiveness of their actions.
  • This measure was tested in Sweden by Trafikverket as part of RESTRAIL   pilot tests conducted in 2014.

last update: 2015-01-20 Print