South West Train workers back Network Rail boss suicide comments


Sir David Higgins, former Olympic Delivery Authority head, caused a stir when speaking to the Financial Times about Olympic transport yesterday.


By Tessa Emslie, Toby Harrison, Jordon Martindale and Ed Rusoke-Spencer

South West Train’s workers are backing sensational suicide comments made yesterday by the Chief Executive of Network Rail.

Sir David Higgins, former head of the Olympic Delivery Authority, caused a stir when speaking to the Financial Times about Olympic transport.

He said: “There is going to be track circuit failure, there will be overhead line breakages, there will be cable theft.

“Probably there will be suicides – there always are over a 60-day period, that’s just going to happen unfortunately.”

Jenny Claridge, who works for South West Trains at Twickenham station, agrees with Sir David’s view of the suicide rate. She said: “I think the rate will be the same.”

Sir David’s frank assessment was issued as Londoners become the focus for an £8.8 million advertising campaign to change their travel habits during the Olympics, thereby easing congestion on the capital’s transport network.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “Incidents will happen but it’s how we respond and keep the travelling public informed. During the Games we will be working closely with Transport for London and the rest of the rail industry to minimise the impact of any disruption and let the Games be about sport, not transport.”

Transport for London declined to comment.

South West Train workers receive suicide training as part of the quiet initiative between the Samaritans and Network Rail. Fatality and suicide are not included in South West Train’s performance results as they are “beyond the control of the rail industry”. 

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