19.3 Announcements made to passengers after an incident

This measure refers to the standard operation procedure used to make public announcements about incidents in trains or at stations. The announcement aims to inform passengers why trains are being delayed, stopped or cancelled by revealing or withholding particular details about the incident.
  • When a suicide occurs, inform passengers of the reason for a delay by referring to “a person being hit by a train” or “a person on the tracks” rather than to mention a “suicide” or “fatality”.
  • It may be even advisable to speak of a “passenger incident” rather than report that “there is a person under train”.
  • Be aware that regardless of the announcement type, passengers will generally continue to blame the RU for the traffic stop and delays.

Some operational examples:

  • In Belgium, in case of a suicide on the tracks, the message had been changed in "due to a collision" (in English). Before the announcement was “due to a collision of a person”. Both the IM and the RU no longer specify who or what was hit (e.g. person, car, obstacle, animal). This modification was made at the request of suicide experts in order to limit the association of the train as a means of suicide. The message “collision of a person” may convey to the public that the train is still a commonly used method despite the recent measures taken. When people hear this often, it creates the impression that the train is often used as a means of killing oneself. This may lead to copycat behaviour. New message to the passengers since April 2021:
    • In Dutch: “door een aanrijding”
    • In French: “en raison d’un incident sur les voies”
    • In German: “infolge eines Zwischenfalls”
    • In English: “due to a collision”
  • In the Netherlands, the message currently used is "collision with a person" but a change to "emergency services" is being considered.
  • In the Montreal metro, suicides are announced as an "emergency services response".
  • In the Toronto metro, suicides are announced as "injured person on the rails".
  • Announcements that give information about the delay and should be at the same time neutral about the nature of the incident (e.g. ’Delay because of an accident’) (van Houwelingen, 2011).

last update: 2022-06-01 Print