The RailStaff awards recognises workers who have used all their skills and training to help protect a life on the rails. Shane Davis, a mobile operations manager at Network Rail, was this year’s winner of the Samaritans Lifesaver Award.
On 5 December 2021, Shane was called to an incident concerning a distressed male who had placed himself on an overbridge with the railway situated below. When Shane arrived at the bridge the man was sat with his legs dangling over the edge. He could clearly see that the individual was in a moment of crisis.
After asking for permission from the police onsite to approach, he engaged the man in conversation. Both Shane and the man opened up, discussing the things they had both been through and discovering that they had a lot of common ground. They also talked through all of the different options for help. Shane showed real compassion and empathy when this person needed it the most. His quick thinking and perseverance resulted in the man steeping down from the ledge.
Speaking about the incident, Shane’s colleagues commented: “We are all so proud of Shane and grateful that he was on shift that night and was able to make this man’s wellbeing his upmost priority. You are a true lifesaver in every sense of the word.”
On the night of the awards, Shane’s humility shone through: “I’m shell shocked, I didn’t expect this at all,” he said. “It’s nice to get a thank you for something we sadly have to do quite often. In this case, I opened up to the man about my own experience of mental health struggles and that’s why this award means a lot to me now. It’s humbling to be able to take my own experience and use it to help someone else.”
Samaritans is available day or night, for anyone who’s struggling to cope, and who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. Across communities, in prisons, schools, hospitals and on the rail network, Samaritans is working with people who are going through a difficult time and training others to do the same. It works tirelessly to reach more people and make suicide prevention a priority.
Olivia Cayley, Samaritan’s Head of Rail Programme and presenter of the Lifesaver Award said: “The RailStaff Awards are really very important, allowing us to highlight stories like Shane’s where people go above and beyond in their day job. They also promote the message that we need to look out for one another, trust our instincts, and strike up a conversation if we think that someone is in need.”
Richard Baker, MTR Elizabeth line
Amir Aziz, GTR