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Sharp rise in railway suicides, say Network Rail

Photo: PA

The number of people who have committed suicide on Britain's railways in the last year has almost reached 300, Network Rail and the Samaritans have warned.

Official figures for 2013-14 how there have already been 279 suicides on the UK's rail network - the highest number on record and up from 246 in the previous year.

Slough train station was closed shortly after Rubina and Amaar died. Credit: PA

Most recently, "loving mother" Rubina Khan 46, died with her son, 10-year-old Amaar, at Slough train station in an apparent murder-suicide.

Rubina had been recently widowed and was believed to have been battling depression when they were hit by an oncoming train. Both died at the scene.

The tragic figures come as British Transport Police and Samaritan volunteers hold a one day conference on suicide prevention.

The Samaritans said railway suicides made up 4.7% of the total number of people who took their own their lives in 2012. However, the charity said the number of railway suicides had risen this year.

Credit: PA

The rail Safety and Standards Board revealed there were 29 suspected suicides in August and 28 during July. The monthly average over the past year has been 23.

Network Rail are investing in soothing blue lights at train platforms as a way of keeping customers calm. It is hoped their soothing affect will help stop suicide attempts.

The Samaritans believes that financial pressures caused by the years of economic downturn may also have contributed.

"We have been coming out of a very big recession and the impact of the economic climate is very much being felt," said Ola Rzepczynska, who has been heading a joint suicide prevention plan between the Samaritans and Network Rail.

"The real impacts are being felt in the most recent years," she said.