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Northern staff praised for saving woman in distress at station in County Durham



Three members of Northern’s train presentation team have been praised after they saved a woman who climbed onto the tracks.


Connor Strover, Phil Williams and Keith James were cleaning a train at a station in County Durham during a night shift in May when they noticed the woman was in distress.


When Keith went over to speak to her on the platform, she walked off and climbed onto the railway line.


Connor and Phil called over to a dispatcher, who alerted the control room and managed to get a signal to the driver of an oncoming train.


“Everyone was in the right place and if they weren’t it could have ended very differently,” said Connor, who is a train presentation leader for Northern.


“The driver saw the dispatch baton was on red and managed to stop around 20 meters in front of her – it was close. Someone must have been looking out for her.


“As soon as we saw her that night, we knew something was off because of the way she walked past our train.”


After making sure all incoming trains had been stopped, Connor, Phil, Keith and the dispatcher climbed down onto the track to speak to the woman and the convinced her to return to safety.


Connor said: “It’s not part of the job, but everyone kept their cool, reacted quickly and listened to instructions.


“We were all shaken up afterwards, but the fact she’s OK and getting the help she needs has been a huge morale boost for the team.”


Following these incidents, a review was carried out and the team were presented with walkie talkies, which allow them to communicate with all staff at the station and respond to welfare concerns immediately.


Tricia Williams, Northern’s managing director, and Jason Wade, regional director for Northern, met with the trio to thank them in person earlier this month.


Tricia said: “We’re incredibly proud of our team for going above and beyond to save someone from serious harm.


“Our staff frequently step in to help people in distress on the rail network and manage to react quickly and remain calm in incredibly stressful situations.”


Anyone can contact Samaritans, free, 24/7, 365 days a year, on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or visit www.samaritans.org


They can also download Chasing the Stigma’s Hub of Hope app, which brings together all the mental health support options available to someone in any given area.


Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

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