Keep Calm and Think Blue (Rail Engineer)

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Just over a mile south of Stirling station was what was once considered to be Scotland’s highest risk footpath crossing. St Ninian’s crossing was located on Millhall Road and, although it had been closed to road traffic for many years, it remained open for pedestrian use. Within just a two-minute walk from the town’s Braehead and Broombridge housing estates, this crossing was heavily used. Tragically, it had seen an atypical number of incidents, with one fatality and six near misses reported within the past six years.

Interestingly, calming blue lighting had been trialled at St Ninian’s crossing as part of an effort to reduce the increasing number of suicides on Scotland’s rail network. Network Rail experimented with this novel illumination after it proved successful in Japan, where it had been installed at stations on Tokyo’s Yamanote line.

With a reported four-fifths reduction in suicides there, trials were undertaken on the platforms at Gatwick station. This proved successful too, with reductions not only in the number of suicide attempts, but also in the level of antisocial behaviour.

At the time of its installation at St Ninian’s crossing in 2016, the number of suspected suicides in Scotland had doubled over the previous six months to fourteen, compared with seven in the same period in 2015. Network Rail said this had bucked the trend in the incidence of suicides that were falling across the rest of the UK.

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Written by Long Branch Mike