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Fife rail pastors to keep nights out on track

Rail Pastors at Inverkeithing Train Station.
Rail Pastors at Inverkeithing Train Station.

A dedicated team of specially-trained volunteers is taking to Fife trains to prevent nights out from going off the rails.

“Rail pastors” will be stationed on late-night trains throughout Fife this winter to assist vulnerable revellers.

It is the latest platform for Fife’s street pastor movement, which already has teams out in the Kingdom’s town centres to keep party-goers safe.

Working with police officers to offer a reassuring presence to those in need, Sandy Scrimgeour, CEO of the Ascension Trust, which runs the initiative, said: “The rail pastors are essentially doing the same work they do when they’re on the streets.

“They are there to listen and care for people and help wherever they can.

“We are faith based but we do not preach that.

“They will go from carriage to carriage, looking for people that may be vulnerable and just sit with them and let them know that they have support.”

Street pastors — volunteers from various church congregations — first took to the streets of Dunfermline in 2008, offering a sympathetic ear to revellers that may have become lost, detached from groups of friends, or simply over-indulged and require assistance to get home.

While similar groups have since taken to the streets of other Fife towns, the Fife rail pastor scheme is the first of its kind in Scotland, having taken inspiration from a pilot project in London.

Dressed in light blue, rail pastors will be on Saturday trains from Edinburgh Waverley and throughout the Fife Circle line in the coming months.

Stating that he was particularly excited about this initiative, Mr Scrimgeour added: “Rail pastors are basically the same as street pastors but with added training.

“We had 26 people turn up at a training day we hosted.

“People were from across Scotland with the majority of those from Fife.”

The value of the rail pastors has already been proven following a training night at the end of last month.

“One woman had a very bad cut on her leg and even though we were just training we were able to assist her,” added Mr Scrimgeour.

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