Direct Rail Services (DRS) is selling off heritage locomotives and carriages as it modernises its fleet.

DRS Class 20s No’s 20302 & 20312 at Sheffield with the RHTT working 3S14 Grimsby Town to Bridlington, 26th October 2016. © Jamie Rowley

The sale will see all the Class 20s, which were DRS’s first engines and have been with the company for over 25 years, sold, as well as a selection of their Class 37s, 57s, and MK2 coaches. There will also be a selection of Class 20, Class 57 and MK2 coach parts available to purchase.

This is the first in a series of locomotive sales which will see a further number of the Class 37s and Class 57s up for sale in the future.

Chris Connelly, NTS Deputy CEO and Rail Director, said: “This is an important first step for DRS as we look at our fleet and our plans for the future.

“The Class 20s are really special engine to us, having been with us from the start, but things move on and a modern, dynamic rail freight operator needs a modern fleet to match our ambitions.

“This is the first phase and there will be more Class 37s and some 57s offered in the future as we move towards our net carbon zero ambitions.”

Reported to be included the the sale are;

Class 20s – 20301, 20302, 20303, 20304, 20305, 20308, 20309 and 20312

Class 37s – 37606 and 37703

Class 57/3s – 57302 and 57311

MK2 Coaches – 5173, 5787, 5937 and 6064

More information available at the DRS website here.

Railway Family Prize Draw and Auction 2021

We are delighted to be supporting the Railway Family Fundraiser 2021 with the donation of a couple of highly sought after Railcam Goodie Bags, adding to a simply stunning selection of prizes which are on offer to the lucky winners…..

Head over to https://gofund.me/8786fd36 to show your support and let’s smash that £5,000 target.


How does a trip for 2 in Scotland’s Railway Helicopter over the Forth Bridge sound? Or an amazing experience with LNER in their Simulator Centre! Or an incredible ‘ride out’ with British Transport Police? Or a behind the scenes look at MTR Elizabeth Line? Or for the chance to take some friends on a behind the scenes tour of Hitachi Rail? There are MANY more prizes and experiences like this that we will list in full in the coming days but for your chance to win, donate £10 for every entry you wish to make.

For every £10 you donate, you will be allocated a unique number. On Thursday 16 September, the day of the National Rail Awards, all numbers will be entered and the draw will be shown on social media. Even if you make your donation anonymously, we will be able to see your name and will allocate you your number.

You can enter as many times as you want, over the 6 weeks that the fundraiser will run. Good luck! Our Railway Family has joined forces to give us an amazing array of experiences and prizes. 

But, apart from the chance to win something truly unique, what are you supporting? Why have I set up this fundraiser?

Meet Jack Jarvis, a serving member of the British Army, who will attempt an incredible feat at the end of 2021, where he will row over 5000 miles, from Portugal to Miami, to raise money for CALM and Brainstrust, two causes very close to his heart. The Rail Industry are proud to support this historical and brave effort, continuing a long and proud association with our military forces.

Both industries share a common passion to promote and support mental health… Please read Jack’s personal motivation for undertaking this challenge. And the very best of luck to everyone entering!

Introduction by Jack:

On the 20th November 2007 my Grandad passed away from a brain tumour, I was absolutely devastated. I want to do my bit to help try and find a cure for this awful disease, if I can stop even one family losing someone from this deadly cancer it will be my greatest achievement.

Brain tumors kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national research spend has been allocated to this devastating disease.

In December 2021 I will row SOLO, 4500 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in order to raise as much money and awareness for BrainTrust & CALM. 

I will battle sleep deprivation, salt sores, dehydration, fatigue and loneliness.

In order to raise money for the crossing I, Natasha and Heather will be doing a fundraiser with our friends across the rail industry with all money going towards the Transatlantic row in support of BrainTrust & CALM.

Your generosity will help get me to the start line and save countless lives.


Helicopter Ride over Forth Rail Bridge in Scotland’s Railway Helicoptor
Cab Ride with Freightliner Driver Heather Waugh
2 lots of 2 tickets for Glasgow Central Tours:

‘Behind the Scenes Tour’, Simulator Experience, and Cab Ride with MTR Elizabeth Line

Tour for up to 8 people at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe Facility
Cab Ride with GBRf
‘Ride Out’ with British Transport Police
VIP Tickets to see Tom Jones at SSE Hydro Glasgow on December 5

Railcam’s support and coverage of #GBRf2021 – This Time It’s Personal Charity Railtour

©GB Railfreight

The mammoth 4-day GB Railfreight charity railtour returns for 2021, and This Time It’s Personal!

A selection of traction will be used over the 4 days, including Class 59, Class 60, Class 69, Class 73/9, Class 86, Class 91 and more….. This is a true enthusiasts dream charter and all in support of https://prostatecancer.org

Starting at London Victoria on Thursday 2nd September, the tour takes in destinations such as Harwich International, Southampton Central, the WCML, West Highland Line to Oban, the ECML and finishing up at London Paddington on Sunday 5th September.

Keep an eye out for our admin team on board, plus your chance to win one of two Railcam goodie bags (amongst some superb prizes) as part of the onboard raffle…..


Schedules and Railcam camera pass times are as follows…….

THURSDAY 2nd SEPTEMBER

1Z21 London Victoria (09:45) to London Gateway Gbrf (12:09)

Class 66 x 1

🎥 Barking (11:19)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&tid=871Z211F02


1Z22 London Gateway Gbrf (12:29) to Harwich International (15:37)

Class 73/9 x 2 (London Gateway to Temple Mills Loop)

Class 66 x 1 (Temple Mills Loop to Harwich International)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20215368


1Z23 Harwich International (15:47) to Harwich International (16:41)

Class 73/9 x 2 (Harwich International to Parkeston Gbrf)

Class 66 x 1 (Parkeston Gbrf to Harwich International)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20215369


1Z24 Harwich International (16:54) to London Euston (22:38)

Class 73/9 x 2 (Harwich International to Ely)

Class 66 x 1 (Ely to Wembley Area)

Class 73/9 x 2 (Wembley Area to London Euston)

🎥 Camden Junction (21:47)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20240527


FRIDAY 3rd SEPTEMBER

1Z25 London Euston (07:26) to Marchwood MOD Gbrf (12:07)

Class 73/1 x 2 – (London Euston to Wembley Area)

🎥 Camden Junction (07:31)

Class 59 x 1 – (Wembley Area to Eastleigh Marchwood)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&tid=721Z251A03


Loco TBC – Shunts within Eastleigh Marchwood


1Zxx Marchwood MOD Gbrf (15:22) to Acton Lane Reception Sidings GB Railfreight (19:17)

Class 59 x 1 (Marchwood MOD Gbrf to Eastleigh East Yard)

Class 73/1 x 2 (Eastleigh East Yard to Kensington Olympia)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20215471


FRIDAY 3rd SEPTEMBER (Overnight)

1Zxx Marchwood MOD Gbrf (15:22) to Acton Lane Reception Sidings GB Railfreight (19:17)

Class 73/1 x 2 (Kensington Olympia to Acton Mainline Reception)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20215471


1Zxx Acton Lane Reception Sidings GB Railfreight (19:45) to Mossend Up Yard (05:08)

Class 86 x 1 (Action Mainline Reception GB Railfreight to Crewe)

🎥 Watford Junction (20:05)

Class 92 x 1 (Crewe to Mossend Up Yard)

🎥 Crewe 2 & 5 (00:10)

🎥 Crewe 4 (00:12)

🎥 Leyland (00:47)

🎥 Farington Junction (00:49)

🎥 Preston (01:02)

🎥 Bolton Le Sands (01:12)

🎥 Beattock (03:55)

🎥 Thankerton (04:30)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=20241551


1Zxx Mossend Up Yard (05:45) to Oban (10:35)

Class 37 x 2 (courtesy of Direct Rail Services)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&tid=071Z301504


SATURDAY 4th SEPTEMBER

1Z30 Mossend Up Yard (05:45) to Oban (10:35)

Class 37 x 2 (courtesy of Direct Rail Services)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&tid=071Z301504


1Z31 Oban (12:52) to Carlisle (23:15)

Class 37 x 2 (courtesy of Direct Rail Services) (Oban to Mossend Up Yard)

Class 91 x 1 (Mossend Up Yard to Newcastle)

🎥 Cramlington (20:35)

Class 60 x 1 (Newcastle to Carlisle)

Track it – https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&tid=061Z311L04


SUNDAY 5th SEPTEMBER

1Zxx Carlisle (10:15) to Preston (11:35)

Class 66 x 1 –

🎥 Preston (11:30)

Track it –


1Zxx Preston (12:25) to Bescot Up And Down Goods (15:30)

Class 50 x 3 (Preston to Bescot Up And Down Goods)

🎥 Farington Junction (12:27)

🎥 Leyland (12:29)

🎥 Crewe 4 (13:10)

🎥 Crewe 2 & 5 (13:11)

🎥 Bushbury Junction (13:57)

Class 66 x 1 (Bescot Up And Down Goods to Bescot Up And Down Goods)

Track it –


1Zxx Bescot Up And Down Goods(16:00) to London Paddington (19:21)

Class 69 x 1

Track it –


5 minute reads – Work ramps up as Network Rail upgrades track and signalling over August Bank Holiday ready to connect Midland Main Line with new Brent Cross West station

©Network Rail
  • Essential railway upgrades are taking place over August Bank Holiday weekend – ready to connect services to Brent Cross West station when it opens next year
  • Network Rail will also continue with Kentish Town track upgrades and replace points between Kentish Town and West Hampstead
  • Work planned to minimise disruption as much as possible as railway welcomes passengers back
  • Changes to East Midlands Railway and Thameslink services – passengers advised to plan ahead

Network Rail is continuing to make progress on essential railway upgrades over the August Bank Holiday to improve journeys for passengers and prepare for services to call at the new Brent Cross West station.

©Network Rail

Between Saturday 28 August and the first service on Tuesday 31 August, teams will continue with vital work to reconfigure the track layout and improve the signalling system. This work will allow trains to call at the new station when it opens next year, linking people in the community to Central London and the Midland Main Line.

For this work to take place safely, no East Midlands Railway trains will run between Luton and London St Pancras International over the Bank Holiday weekend, and Thameslink services will terminate at Mill Hill Broadway. Replacement bus services will be in place to keep people moving.

During this time, additional improvements will take place as part of a complex project to upgrade the track at Kentish Town. The slab track in the area – which is supported by concrete rather than ballast – was laid in the 1970s. The work to upgrade it will improve journeys and reduce the amount of maintenance required.

Work will also be carried out to replace the points – movable sections of track which allow trains to safely move from one line to another – at Carlton Road junction, between Kentish Town and West Hampstead.

These upgrades will make sure passenger and freight services can continue running safely and reliably for years to come.

Network Rail has carefully planned the work which is taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend and carrying it out when the line is closed reduces the amount of future disruption for passengers.  

The following changes will be in place on Saturday 28, Sunday 29 and Monday 30 August:

  • No East Midlands Railway services will run between Luton and London St Pancras International. Passengers will be able to use replacement buses to connect to London Underground services.
  • A reduced Thameslink service will run between Bedford and Mill Hill Broadway all weekend. Buses will replace trains between Mill Hill Broadway and London St Pancras International.
  • Buses will also run between Harpenden (calling at St Albans) and Potters Bar, and between Luton Airport Parkway (calling at Luton) and Hitchin, where passengers can connect to alternative services into London.

Passengers can find out how their journeys will be affected with their train operator, via National Rail Enquiries, or by following #AugustBHWorks on Twitter.

©Network Rail

Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Midlands Route, said: “This vital work over the August Bank Holiday will be a major step towards linking the new Brent Cross West station to the Midland Main Line.

“We’re carrying out additional improvements whilst this section of the line is closed to reduce future disruption to services. The slab track at Kentish Town has served the line well and the upgrade is vital so services can continue running reliably.

“As we welcome passengers back to the railway, we’ve worked hard to minimise disruption and keep services moving as much as possible. I’d encourage anyone travelling over the Bank Holiday weekend to check their journey and plan ahead.”

Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director for EMR, said: “For any customers who are planning on travelling over the August Bank Holiday weekend, please allow extra time for your journey. There are no EMR train services operating between Luton and London St Pancras International and a replacement bus service will be in place.

“We would like to thank passengers for their patience whilst this crucial engineering work takes place between Saturday 28th and Monday 30th August.”

Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Thameslink, said: “It’s good news that Network Rail are taking the opportunity to make these essential track improvements at Kentish Town while preparing for Brent Cross West further north. The new station will be a vital addition to the Thameslink network. If you do need to travel between Bedford and London during the Bank Holiday weekend, thank you for your patience. Please check a journey planner for details of the service changes and replacement bus options, and allow plenty of extra time. Be aware there may be further changes at short notice because of the coronavirus outbreak.”

People are advised to follow government guidance and wear a face covering in busy indoor settings, unless they are exempt. With good ventilation systems on trains, extra cleaning and improved information about quieter times, passengers can continue to travel with confidence.

5 minute read – Ely to Peterborough rail line reopens following incident at Cambridgeshire level crossing

©Network Rail

The Ely to Peterborough rail line reopened this morning (Tuesday 24 August) following completion of works to repair damage caused by a collision between a freight train and a tractor last week.

The collision caused extensive damage after the freight train derailed. Since the incident, Network Rail’s engineers have been working non-stop to complete over a mile of track renewal, repairs to the signalling equipment and level crossing infrastructure. 

Network Rail’s infrastructure director for Anglia, Simon Milburn, said: “We’ve worked around the clock on extensive repairs in order to safely reopen the line as quickly as possible. I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we completed these works and we are sorry for the disruption it has caused.”

Just after 9am on Thursday 19 August, a freight train collided with a tractor at Kisbeys user worked level crossing in March, Cambridgeshire between March and Whittlesea stations. Network Rail is assisting the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) with their investigation to fully understand the circumstance of the incident.

The crash caused three freight wagons to derail and has caused significant damage to the track, signalling equipment and the level crossing. The train driver and the tractor driver sustained minor injuries.

5 minute read – UPDATE: Repair works underway following Cambridgeshire level crossing incident

©Network Rail

Repair works are underway on the line between Ely and Peterborough following a collision between a freight train and a tractor yesterday morning (19 August).

As of Friday (20 August) the freight train and wagons had been removed and Network Rail’s engineers had completed half a mile of track repairs, with the remaining half a mile planned in over the weekend. Repairs are also being carried out to the signalling equipment and level crossing infrastructure.

The work is expected to be completed early next week. The line will remain closed on Monday and a further update will be provided regarding its reopening. We aim to reopen the line as early as possible next week.

Network Rail’s infrastructure director for Anglia, Simon Milburn, said:

“We’ve been working around the clock to carry out repairs as quickly as possible and have completed half of the track repairs so far with further works planned this weekend. We aim to reopen the line as soon as we can next week but it will remain closed on Monday. I’d like to thank passengers for their continued patience while we complete this work.

“Passengers travelling between Ely and Peterborough are advised to check with their train operator or National Rail Enquiries for the latest information.”

Just after 9am a freight train collided with a tractor at Kisbeys user worked level crossing in March, Cambridgeshire between March and Whittlesea stations. Network Rail is assisting the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) with their investigation to fully understand the circumstance of the incident.

The crash caused three freight wagons to derail and has caused significant damage to the track, signalling equipment and the level crossing. The train driver and the tractor driver sustained minor injuries.

5 minute read – Network Rail brightens up Nottinghamshire bridge to help tackle graffiti

©Network Rail

Network Rail has joined forces with an artist, East Midlands Railway and the Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership to brighten up the road bridge at Netherfield station and help tackle graffiti near the railway.

Netherfield bridge – which carries Chaworth Road over the railway at Netherfield station – has been regularly targeted with graffiti.

Graffiti is illegal, often offensive and unpleasant for people in the community. Cleaning it costs millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and uses valuable time, which could be used making improvements to the railway.

After spending time covering and cleaning it, only to have to return to the site to do it all again, Network Rail teams worked with the Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership, East Midlands Railway and Lincolnshire County Council to commission street artist, Lionel Stanhope, to brighten up the bridge.

The design is based on artwork by children from Netherfield Primary School and St John the Baptist Primary School.  

Bronnie Clarke, Programme Manager for Network Rail’s East Midlands Route, said: “The artwork on the bridge at Netherfield station looks fantastic. It has brightened up the area for passengers and people in the community – and welcomes visitors to the town.

“Network Rail is determined to tackle graffiti on and near the railway. We hope this work makes people think twice about targeting the area again.”

©Network Rail

Lionel Stanhope, artist, said: “It’s been a pleasure painting the walls at Netherfield Station this week. I think the design we all agreed on is a great mix of a strong Typography piece on one side ‘WELCOME TO NETHERFIELD’  and the local school children’s designs bringing vibrant colours and positive messages on the other side.”

Jo Andrews, Community Rail Officer, Poacher Line, said: “We were delighted to work with Network Rail and East Midlands Railway to improve the appearance of Netherfield station bridge. We engaged with the local community to create a vibrant mural which will enhance the station entrance and hopefully deter further instances of graffiti. This has been a lovely project to be involved with and a huge thank you to those who contributed to the design which included the children of Netherfield Primary School and St John the Baptist Primary School, Colwick.”

©Network Rail

Donna Adams, Community Engagement Manager for EMR said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Network Rail and the Poacher Line CRP to tackle the graffiti issues on Netherfield Station bridge. 

“The artwork from Lionel adds real flare and colour to a frequently tagged area and will be welcomed by the local community, it makes the entrance to the station much more pleasant.”

©Network Rail

Cllr Meredith Lawrence, Mayor of Gedling, said: “I’m delighted to see this project completed, as the bridge has suffered many unofficial graffiti over the years. It is good that local children can feel ownership in that they contributed to the design, and I am sure that they will be proud to see their work incorporated.

“The bridge spans the meeting of the Netherfield and Colwick wards, and as the local councillor for Colwick I am doubly delighted!”

If you see someone graffitiing on the railway, please report it to the British Transport Police by calling 0800 40 50 40 or texting 61016. You can also call Network Rail’s 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41.

5 minute read – Network Rail upgrades track in Grantham over August Bank Holiday weekend

©Network Rail

Network Rail upgrades track in Grantham over August Bank Holiday weekend – vast majority of services continue as railway welcomes passengers back

  • Essential work in Grantham will bring smoother, more reliable journeys
  • Work planned to minimise disruption as much as possible with some changes to LNER services on Saturday 28 August
  • Over 95% of Britain’s rail network will be open for business over August Bank Holiday weekend as railway welcomes back passengers

Network Rail is upgrading the track in Grantham over the August Bank Holiday weekend to bring smoother journeys for passengers travelling on the East Coast Main Line.

Overnight on Saturday 28 August, teams will be lifting and replacing the track on a section of the line between the north of Grantham and Claypole level crossing, near Newark-on-Trent. The ballast – stones which support the track – and the wooden sleepers will also be replaced.  

As well as bringing smoother, more reliable journeys for passengers, this work will also reduce the amount of maintenance which is required in future.

Network Rail has carefully planned the work which is taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend. Over 95% of Britain’s rail network will be open for business as usual, meaning passengers can reconnect with family, friends, and their favourite holiday destinations.

Most of the work in Grantham will be carried out overnight when there are no trains running on the line. There will be some changes to LNER services on Saturday 28 August:

  • The 19:45 Leeds to London King’s Cross and the 20:30 London King’s Cross to Leeds services will not run.
  • The 21:00 London King’s Cross to Newcastle service will depart earlier than usual. It will also be diverted, extending journey times.
  • The 22:00 service from London King’s Cross to Leeds will also set off earlier than usual and journey times will be extended.

Passengers can find out how their journeys will be affected with their train operator, via National Rail Enquiries, or by following #AugustBHWorks on Twitter.

Paul Rutter, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Coast route, said: “This vital work to upgrade the track in Grantham will bring smoother, more reliable services for passengers. We’re carrying out these improvements now to reduce the amount of maintenance and repair work required in future, helping to prevent disruption to services.  

“As we welcome passengers back to the railway, the vast majority of services are running as normal. We’re advising people to check their journey and allow plenty of time.”

People are advised to follow government guidance and wear a face covering in busy indoor settings, unless they are exempt. With good ventilation systems on trains, extra cleaning and improved information about quieter times, passengers can continue to travel with confidence.

5 minute read – Network Rail and Busk In London team up to provide summer of music at London King’s Cross station

Performers at King’s Cross: @John_Clapper @Lucymaywalker

Network Rail and Busk In London have joined forces to create a summer schedule of music for travellers at King’s Cross station.

Running throughout August and September, there will be more than 60 musical performances on a newly installed stage on the concourse in King’s Cross station to help welcome back passengers to the railway following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

The performances will take place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 12:00 and 18:00 until Saturday, 11 September and will showcase the best busking talent which the capital has to offer.

John Clapper performing at King’s Cross

Laura Murphy, King’s Cross station manager for Network Rail, said: “We’re really excited to have partnered with Busk In London to provide free, in-station entertainment for our customers.

“It’s great to see more passengers using the railway following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and we wanted to put on these events to provide a warm welcome back for all those visiting us this Summer.”

Lucy May Walker performing at King’s Cross

Kate Jones, Programme Director for Busk in London, said: “Busk in London is delighted to be working with King’s Cross station to present a diverse range of high quality performances from artists on the Busk in London scheme.

“After many months of no live music, our artists are thrilled to be back doing what they do best. Whether passengers are arriving or departing or just visiting King’s Cross for the many retail and dining options, our performers will provide a fantastic soundtrack throughout August and September.”

5 minute read – Network Rail gets on board for Samaritans’ Small Talk Saves Lives

©Network Rail
  • As the nation begins to readjust to life with easing restrictions, Network Rail, British Transport Police and the wider rail industry joins charity to empower the public to act if they see someone who needs help by starting a conversation
  • New survey reveals over three quarters of the nation have continued to use small talk with strangers during pandemic restrictions, including connecting with neighbours they hadn’t spoken to before
  • One in five surveyed are more likely to want to make small talk once restrictions have lifted, appreciating the sense of community the pandemic brought out

British reserve may be internationally renowned but a new survey by Samaritans shows how much we rely on small talk as a nation, even with the limiting social restrictions of the pandemic. The findings come as Samaritans launches a new phase of Small Talk Saves Lives this summer, in partnership with Network Rail, British Transport Police and the wider rail industry, to empower the public to act to prevent suicide on the railways and other settings.

The YouGov survey found that over three quarters of UK adults (78%) used small talk during the pandemic, whilst almost one in five of those surveyed say they are likely to want to make more small talk with a stranger face to face once restrictions are lifted (19%).*  Just over half of those who want to make more small talk said it was because they now recognise the importance of human connection (51%) and with 39% of respondents saying they also appreciate the sense of community the pandemic brought out in people. Whilst during pandemic restrictions, people said they made small talk with neighbours they hadn’t spoken to before and with strangers at the supermarket (both 37%).*

Despite the unprecedented events of the last year, the good old British weather still remains the go-to subject for striking up conversation, chosen by 71% of people, compared to coronavirus in second place with 45%.*

After an incredibly tough year and as the nation begins to readjust to life with easing restrictions, the campaign reminds the public they already have the skills to start a conversation with someone who needs help, giving them the confidence to act. By trusting our instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, a little small talk and a simple question, such as “Hello, what’s the time?” can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts and help start them on the journey to recovery. It could save a life.

The survey also highlighted the benefits small talk can have, with over half of respondents saying it can make people feel less lonely (57%) and boost their own mental health and wellbeing (45%), as well as showing others that people care and want to help them (28%).*

Network Rail’s Dom Mottram, age 32, knows the importance of small talk after he experienced suicidal thoughts aged 19 and was considering taking his life when a lady approached him and asked him a question – her kindness “snapping him out of harming himself in the moment”. Dom has since helped others in a similar situation both in and out of the rail environment.

©Network Rail

Dom said: “I’m thankful for the ripple effect of that lady saving my life – without her stopping and checking if I was okay, I might not be here to now look out for and save others. I’m always on the lookout for anyone who might need help. If I see someone who looks out of place or a bit down, I often just go over and ask if they’re alright and try and bring them to a place of safety. Nine times out of ten the person is absolutely fine – but trusting my instincts and talking to that one person can make such a difference.

Dom Mottram – ©Chris Turner

“It took me a long time before I spoke to anyone about that moment – but it was a wake-up call and I eventually got help from the university and my family. I’ve had my ups and downs with my mental health after that, but I’ve come a long way since my 19-year-old self and feel I know how to support my mental health now. I’d encourage everyone to talk about how they’re feeling and ask for help. It’s so true that small talk is enough to save someone’s life – just as it did for me and it’s what I always try to do for others.” 

©Network Rail

Samaritans CEO Julie Bentley said: “We know that the pandemic has had a huge impact on the nation’s mental health and wellbeing and even though restrictions are lifting, people are still struggling. It’s so important we look out for one another now more than ever, because suicide is preventable and it’s everybody’s business.

“How people act when they are struggling to cope is different for everyone – people may seem distant or upset, but suicidal thoughts are often temporary – so if something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and try and start a conversation. Whether that’s on a journey home from work as we start to travel more or someone you may pass in the street – any one of us could have an opportunity to save a life. Let’s start a conversation and work together to prevent suicide.”

Initially launched in 2017, Small Talk Saves Lives was developed after research showed passengers have a key role to play in suicide prevention.** The latest phase of Small Talk Saves Lives has the backing from leading suicide prevention expert and psychologist, Associate Professor Lisa Marzano, from Middlesex University. Further new research from Marzano has confirmed that when asked, people with experience of suicidal thoughts said that verbal interventions, including small talk, providing reassurance and listening, are the most helpful things a person can do to respond to someone in a crisis.*** 

Associate Professor Lisa Marzano, Middlesex University said: “I am pleased to support Samaritans’ latest phase of Small Talk Saves Lives. This important campaign remains a testament to the fact that we can all play a crucial role in preventing suicide and help someone who may be in need by looking out for one another. It could save lives.”  

Rupert Lown, chief health and safety officer at Network Rail, said: “As lockdown restrictions lift, it’s essential that we continue to take care of ourselves and each other. That’s why we’re supporting Small Talk Saves Lives and encouraging passengers to join our staff to look out for someone who may be in emotional distress and start up a conversation. When you’ve initiated a conversation, listen to what they have to say and repeat it back to them to make them feel listened to and understood. Suicide is preventable, so let’s work together to start conversations and save lives.”

British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable Charlie Doyle, said: “When our officers make lifesaving interventions, they may simply start by saying hello and engaging the person in conversation. There’s no magic formula for what to say – I’ve heard of officers chatting about the weather or the football. What I’d like the public to take from this campaign is that everyone has the ability to make a difference. Starting a conversation can be all that it takes. We’re not suggesting people intervene if they don’t feel comfortable or safe to do so. They can tell a member of rail staff or a police officer – many of whom have been trained by Samaritans – or call 999.”

Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris said: “We have all been through a year of difficulty, many feeling cut off from friends and family, so it is more important than ever for people to look out for each other. The work that Samaritans is doing on our rail network is vitally important to so many people. It is incredibly reassuring to see how comforting just a few small words can be to those struggling.”

©Network Rail

Find out more about Small Talk Saves Lives at: www.samaritans.org/smalltalksaveslives or join the conversation on social media using #SmallTalkSavesLives.

A press pack is available at www.samaritans.org/stslpress. For further information and interview requests, please contact:

Samaritans Media Manager Amy Shacklady on 07983500137 or a.shacklady@samaritans.org

Network Rail Senior Media Manager Lucy Jones on 07734649250 or lucy.jones@networkrail.co.uk

British Transport Police Media Relations team 0300 123 9104 or Mediarelations@btp.police.uk