‘Action needed to prevent more rail deaths,’ says Milton Keynes Council leader

Pete Marland
Pete Marland

The leader of Milton Keynes Council and a ward councillor for Bletchley have called for more action to help prevent anyone else from taking their own life on the local railway.

Four people have tragically taken their own life in a month near Bletchley station, and seven people have died since July. Annual figures show that nationally suicide on Britain’s railways has increased by more than 10% in the last year, with over 300 deaths.

Now the leader of MK Council and ward councillor for Bletchley Park, Elaine Wales, are hoping that action will be taken to prevent future tragedies.

They have asked that rail staff are routinely trained to spot people who may in distress and able to offer support and that stations provide more prominent advertising for help and advice. They are also asking for safety barriers at stations and hotspots to prevent access to the track.

“Any death in such circumstances is very sad and our thoughts are with all the family and friends of those affected,” said Councillor Pete Marland.

“Each death will have its own circumstances and complexities, but we need to try and do more to make sure people have the right mental health support when they need it, and the everything possible is done at stations and hotspots to help prevent such terrible incidents.

““MK Council has been in contact with Network Rail and train operators, and we are working with Public Health to try and put in place not only better prevention measures at stations, but better mental health support for people who may be having suicidal thoughts. People often just need someone to talk to. I hope we can help try and prevent any more fatalities.”

Cllr Elaine Wales, Bletchley Park ward added: “No one can fail to be saddened when they hear of a fatality. When the death is caused by being hit by a train the devastation felt by the victim’s family and friends is immeasurable. The train drivers, staff & passengers who witness the horrific incident share a memory that will stay with them for years, maybe a lifetime. It appears this is a growing national problem, but we need to do more locally to help.”

Conservative spokesmann for Bletchley Park, Allan Rankine said: “This is a very sad state of affairs, clearly more needs to be done. I will be contacting local MP Iain Stewart and other stakeholders to discuss what tangible actions can be taken to help prevent these horrible events in the future.”

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Person hit by train at Bletchley