Recently there was a fatality on the East Coast Main Line due to a person being struck by a train.
What followed on social media was disappointingly familiar, and while not stooping to Jeremy Clarkson’s level – who stated that we should leave the bodies on the track for scavenging animals – gave little, if any, thought to the family and friends of the person or indeed the driver. Of course being delayed on your journey home after a hard day at work is extremely annoying, however you will eventually get home without your life being significantly altered.
This is not the case for the driver of the train. Aside from the shocking trauma of the event itself, and often the nagging feeling of guilt that you could have done something to avoid it (totally unfounded), recurring nightmares replaying the event are very common. Some drivers experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the incident, and in some cases it can mean traumatic events from many years ago resurfacing and having to be dealt with all over again. Mood changes and depression are common and this can have a knock on effect on relationships at a time when emotional support is needed most. When and if drivers do return to work (some are not able to) they will have to drive past the same spot again and again with memories of the incident flooding back. I’ve heard of drivers shaking uncontrollably as they go past the site of the incident in preparation for resuming driver duties.
The emergency services and rail staff who deal with the aftermath are also affected. Having been present at the aftermath of a suicide on London Underground I can’t praise the emergency services enough in how they deal with such difficult situations.
Finally, the family and friends of the victim will be deeply affected for the rest of their lives.
Please give the above a thought next time you are delayed by a fatality on the railway.
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