On Thursday 21 November, Freightliner, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), joined forces with Samaritans and Greater Anglia to name its locomotive 66415 ‘You Are Never Alone’.
The locomotive naming ceremony took place at Ipswich Station and was attended by more than 50 guests and colleagues, including the Deputy Mayor of Ipswich, Sandy Martin, who was elected MP for Ipswich in 2017, and representatives from Greater Anglia and Samaritans.
Following an address by the local Railway Chaplain, the name plate was unveiled by train drivers Steve Read and Dave Bray and Branch Director of Samaritans, Ipswich & East Suffolk, Judy Wright.
“We wanted to partner with Samaritans for this loco naming ceremony to pay tribute to, and raise awareness of, the invaluable work they undertake to prevent suicides across the UK and ROI,” said Neil McNicholas, Freightliner MD of UK Rail. “Sadly, the latest figures show that suicide rose nearly 11% in 2018 with suicide being the biggest killer of men under 50 and, unfortunately, across the rail industry, we recognise that suicides on the UK rail network are a far too common occurrence. We want to raise awareness that you are not alone, Samaritans are always there to listen.
“It is also fitting that we are holding this naming ceremony in November which is Men’s Mental Health month,” added McNicholas. “This year, the charity MOVEMBER is focusing on preventing suicide in men with the aim of reducing the rate of male suicide by 25%.”
Mental Health has been a core part of G&W’s UK Health, Safety, Security & Environment (HSSE) strategy this year, with extensive mental health training and awareness sessions undertaken across all parts of the business. This is set to continue throughout 2020 and beyond. Colleagues also have access to free, confidential, 24-hour support provided through a dedicated Employee Assistance Programme.
Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs at Greater Anglia, said: “We wanted to support this important initiative to recognise the work of the Samaritans in assisting people and organisations, customers and employees, across the rail industry, raising awareness of mental health issues and working to prevent suicides. Today’s train naming is another example of organisations in the rail industry, in this case freight and passenger operators, working together, led on this occasion by colleagues at Freightliner, to highlight these important issues.”
Judy Wright, Branch Director Samaritans of Ipswich and East Suffolk, said: “We were delighted to hear that Freightliner wanted to partner with us for this naming ceremony and to raise awareness of our services. We know people can sometimes find it really hard to admit they are having trouble coping and are reluctant to seek help, and we want to say that, at Ipswich branch, we do our best to make it easy to get in touch with Samaritans and talk to a volunteer. We are here to take calls 24/7 free on 116 123.”