Good Samaritans save man from train tracks in St Albans

Victoria Street rail bridge

Victoria Street rail bridge - Credit: Archant

Good Samaritans who acted swiftly to prevent a man from leaping onto tracks from a railway bridge at the city station have been hailed as ‘heroes’.

Herts Police were called at 8.08pm last Thursday (23) to St Albans City Station, Station Way, to reports of concern for the welfare of a man on a bridge over the railway tracks in Victoria Street.

A small group of people was reported to be trying to help the man, who was detained by officers under the Mental Health Act, and has been receiving care since the incident.

One of those rushing to help at the scene was Danny Smith, of St Albans, who phoned the police for help after seeing the distressed man.

He explained: “I got off the bus at the station, walked up the stairs and went across the railway bridge and I saw a man walking along the top of the bridge, and he then sat on it, looking upset. Two other guys started speaking to him.”

Danny said that as he was concerned that the man was considering leaping from the bridge, he phoned the police for help, adding, “By this time, there were three or four people who had come over. The man tried to make a lunge, and they made a plunge for him, and pulled him onto the pavement.

“They held him there while waiting for the emergency services. I could see he was struggling and they were trying to hold him. He was trying to break away from the group.

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“Those members of the public saved him. I tried to help hold him and he was very strong. My heart went out to this guy. Everyone was trying to help him - it was a heroic action. There were half a dozen people in the end who cared enough to stop and help.

“The men who pulled him off the bridge were real heroes - it was just a random group of passersby - and it shows the public spirit of people.”

However, Danny said, he and others were concerned about someone attending the scene from the city station, who “started radioing within earshot of this poor man. One of the members of the public asked him to move away, because he was clearly upsetting the man as he could be heard being insensitive.”

But a spokesman for Govia Thameslink Railway has denied it was an employee who was heard speaking in this way.

He said: “We take issue with this. It was our member of station staff who was asking other people to stop videoing the incident and use similar language that was overhead [by the group].

“Our staff member was under a lot of pressure to get a message through to control as soon as possible. His swift radio call stopped an incoming East Midlands train from passing under the bridge and he then ran down to the platform to wave his arms to stop another train coming in on platform 4.

“Thursday was a very trying day for all our staff at St Albans who did a sterling job managing very significant disruption caused by floods south of London, which then continued with a landslip and tree fall at Radlett and then a complete signal shutdown for two hours.

“Our station manager and his team stayed well beyond their regular shifts to continue to do their best for passengers but it was very difficult for all involved.”