The RailStaff Awards 2023

Nominations for Samaritans Lifesaver Award

Matthew Workman

Said the following about Mario Toone:

“Mario was driving a Freightliner service from the Freightliner site at Basford Hall in Crewe to Craven Arms. On passing the Gresty area, he was warned of a possible trespasser in the area. He proceeded with caution towards Willaston LC, but as he was approaching bridge 7, he noticed ‘something’ hiding in the long grass so he slowed down.

A man stood up and proceeded to walk out on to the track but when he saw that Mario was slowing the train down, he retreated back into the long grass right beside the cess and laid down. Mario brought the train to a controlled stop about 20 yds from where the man lay. He put his head out of the cab window and asked the man what he was doing. When there was no reply, Mario shared his concern that the man might harm himself, but the man was still unresponsive and looked confused. Mario then phoned the Shift Manager and asked for a block on both running lines, police assistance and told the Shift Manager he was going to leave the cab to engage in conversation with the man.

Upon reaching the man, Mario could see that he was obviously distressed and had been crying and he had a vacant expression. Mario offered him a drink and food, but the man declined. Mario then sat down beside him and asked him what was up.

After engaging him in conversation, Mario found out that his name and that he had recently moved down from Leeds to live with his girlfriend. He was on medication and said that he felt worthless, of no use to anybody and had basically given up on himself. Mario asked him more about his life and discovered that his girlfriend had been unfaithful to him and that if the train had not stopped, he would have put himself under it.

It was an emotional and intense conversation and Mario felt and expressed empathy for him. The man thanked Mario for stopping, for showing interest in him and for showing support whilst continuously shaking Mario’s hand.

Eventually, British Transport Police arrived after walking from the road crossing and escorted him away from the track. After they were clear of the track and after contacting the Shift Manager, Mario proceeded with his job, probably not giving himself credit for the fact that he had just potentially saved a man's life.

A perfect example of how simply talking to someone can make the difference between life and death.“