Plagued by disruptive delays caused by frequent suicides, Southern Railway has announced plans to run an after-hours night train service dedicated to the needs of those who wish to take their own lives by jumping under a train.
Already dubbed the Ghost Train by railway workers, the new skeleton service will run at night after scheduled services have finished for the day. Operating companies hope that would-be suicides will take advantage of this opportunity, saving commuters many hours of inconvenience and making the job of the emergency services more straightforward.
User groups have however been quick to point out that the whole point of going under in the Friday evening rush hour is to attract as much attention as possible and take revenge on the world by causing maximum chaos. A spokesperson said a number of initiatives were being considered to address this, including a personalised departure board and the recording of a jumper’s final moments by a professional crew for a Saturday night primetime talent show where the winner’s friends, families and colleagues pay tribute to the newly deceased on ‘That was your Life’, introduced by Ant and Dec.
The proposed new service has had its critics, even from potential jumpers. Divorcee Norman Price heard of a trial run last week and, feeling rather low after his recent redundancy, decided to give it a try. Sadly, he was to be disappointed. ‘I was feeling very run down,’ recollected Mr Price, ‘and decided to jump under the 01.42 at Surbiton. Unfortunately, the train was delayed due to a points failure and, after wasting the best part of two hours hanging around, I decided to end it all and go back home. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here now. Bastards!’
To add to Mr Price’s woes he could be fined for parking in the wrong place for his abortive leap. ‘Unfortunately his season ticket is not valid in the upside car park at this station,’ said an employee. ‘Given the circumstances we are considering waiving the penalty, and in the meantime we trust he will avoid dwelling on the downside and will not jump to a premature conclusion.’