Expat Learnings

Things I’ve learned as an American expat in the UKoGBaNI #27


Suicide by way of jumping in front of a train happens too often in England.

Today, for the third time in the past 12 months, my train journey was canceled or delayed due to a train hitting a person – a person under a train, a person on the track, an accident with a person caused by passenger action). As I approached the blocked ticket barricades at Richmond station today on my way to collect Dexter from his boarding lady in Ascot, I was greeted by a somber train station employee and told, “There are no trains running to Reading due to an accident.” I wondered, “How many ‘accidents’ occur on the London Underground every year?”

I obtained the following figures from Wikipedia.

Suicide on the London Underground increased in 1868 when newspapers started reporting incidents and the Regulation of Railways Act 1873 requires that all injuries on the country’s railways be reported. Passengers who survive suicide attempts or intentionally place themselves in front of a train and live to tell about it are often charged with “endangering safety on the railway” and “obstruction of trains with intent.”

The annual number of suicides in the 1940s was 25 and increased to 100 by the 1980s. There were 3,240 “persons under a train” between 1940 and 1990. In 2011, official figures for the past decade (2000-2010) were released by Transport for London. The rate per year increased from 46 in 2000 to 80 in 2010 with the assumed increase being due to the financial crisis. Though studies differ slightly, one study concluded that 93 percent of “persons under a train” are due to suicide attempts and 7 percent are due to accidents (e.g. a drunk person losing his/her balance and falling onto the tracks).

There were 643 “persons under a train” incidents between 2000-2010 with the most incidents occurring on the Northern line (145) and the least number of incidents (with the exception of lines with no incidents) occurring on the Jubilee line (27). Crazy.

For the next learning in my Expat Learnings mini series, go here. Alternatively, go here to read this mini-series from the beginning.

1 comment on “Things I’ve learned as an American expat in the UKoGBaNI #27

  1. Holy Crap!

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