International Men's Day: Rail death prompts train driver advice

A train driver who witnessed the death of a man on the tracks has urged men to talk and seek help about their mental health.

Mark Haigh, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was at the controls of a Northern service which struck and killed a man in West Yorkshire in 2022.

Speaking on International Men's Day, he said men should not avoid sharing what they are carrying mentally.

Northern said it was working with mental health charities to help staff.

Remembering the incident, Mr Haigh said, "it breaks my heart to think he felt there was no other option available to him.

"If International Men's Day helps just one man have the courage to reach out and ask for help then it has achieved an amazing thing and saved someone's friends and family the unimaginable pain of dealing with a needless loss."

Northern said all staff who witness such events work with specialists who help those who have been through a traumatic experience.

In some cases it can be over a year before staff are ready to resume operational duties, the firm said.

"Men need to feel more comfortable talking about their mental health and there are an increasing number of groups, services and helplines out there dedicated to helping them deal with their emotions, anxieties and other struggles," Mr Haigh added.

Nick Donovan, Northern's managing director, said: "I applaud Mark for his willingness to talk about his deeply upsetting experience and his plea for men to seek the help they need so they know they're not facing their problems alone."

Ahead of International Men's Day, TransPennine Express unveiled a new train wrap featuring the branding of mental health charity Andy's Man Club.

The Class 185 train's new look will be visible "throughout the north", TransPennine said, asking passengers: "Going through a storm or just been through one?"

If you are affected by issues raised in this article, help and support is available via the BBC Action Line.

Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram. Send your story ideas to