Rail pastors are now patrolling the Greater Anglia line between Shenfield and Southend Victoria to help vulnerable people in need.
The rail pastors are on services and stations through the day and into the evening. They are there to help people who may be vulnerable, in need of help or distressed.
Wearing a bright blue uniform the pastors can be easily indentified and are an initiative of the Ascension Trust, supported by and in partnership with British Transport Police, train operators, Network Rail and Samaritans. They aim to save lives and reduce disruption on the network.
The Rail Pastors are all volunteers who first complete street pastor training which takes a minimum of 3 months, they will also complete the Samaritans’ Managing Suicidal Contacts course, which has already been completed by thousands of rail workers.
What did the officials say?
Matthew Wakefield, Greater Anglia’s Head of Safety, Security and Sustainability, said:
“We are very pleased to welcome rail pastors to our Southend line. Pastors have patrolled our network between Shenfield and Colchester since January 2018, and on our west Anglia route since June this year, and have carried out some excellent and very important work.
“We fully support any initiative which aims to keep people safe on our rail network, and we are extremely grateful to the rail pastors for volunteering their time to care for others.
“As well as looking out for suicidal or vulnerable people travelling they provide assistance to anyone – this includes travelling on trains with confused or anxious people ensuring they get to where they need to go, or just offering reassurance and a friendly face.”
Rail Pastor, Phil Norton, said:
“We are a very gentle, non-judgmental group of people who are here to support those who are vulnerable or simply need someone to talk to.
“We have enjoyed patrolling the railway in Essex since the start of 2018 and we are very pleased to be available to those travelling on Greater Anglia’s Southend line.”
Have you seen the new Rail Pastors out and about? Let us know in the comments below!
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