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Train driver scarred after seeing eight rail suicides

‘Life is precious’:
Former train driver
Dave Goodwin
PIC: PLYMOUTH HERALD/SWNS

A FORMER train driver left ‘broken’ after witnessing eight suicides has shared his story to persuade others to seek help.

Dave Goodwin is unable to sleep in the dark because he is haunted by flashbacks of body parts strewn across tracks during his 23-year career.

The 63-year-old said the first was a man in his 20s who jumped in front of his train in Manchester in the late 1980s.

‘I saw this lad hanging out in the bushes,’ he said. ‘All of a sudden he came out like a spring. I saw his fingers open up and I thought “what the bloody hell is he doing?” He just come out in front and he was waving and smiling at me. He wouldn’t move, he just wouldn’t move.’

When he got to the station, Mr Goodwin — who is still haunted by the noise of the impact — was told he would have to continue because there wasn’t a relief driver available.

He continued as a train driver for nine years and saw another seven incidents.

He feels guilt, even when told there was nothing he could have done. ‘It’s relieving when the coroner turns around and he says to you “no blame on the driver”,’ he explained. ‘When somebody steps out in front of you, when you’re driving at 125mph, it takes around a mile to stop. It’s something I’ve got to live with, there’s guilt there.’

In 1997, Mr Goodwin, from Plymouth, was advised to leave his career for the sake of his mental health after stepping on human remains. He spent six weeks in a psychiatric unit with severe post traumatic stress and remains on antidepressants.

He decided to tell his story as part of Mental Health Awareness day in the hope of helping others.

‘It’s not stupid to say, if you’ve got bad thoughts and you’re thinking of ending your life, there’s someone there to talk to, think of your families, what it does to the driver,’ he said. ‘Life is precious, you’ve only got one life and you’ve got to live it. Don’t mess with trains.’

To contact Samaritans, call 116 123 or find your local branch online at www.samaritans.org