A new suicide prevention partnership has been successful in talking people out of taking their own lives on Scotland’s railways.
North East Conservative MSP Bill Bowman said more can still be done to spread the importance among rail staff of spotting danger signs early.
One in six rail staff are now trained to prevent people taking their lives on the railway as part of a link up with the Samaritans.
Mr Bowman believes wider education among rail employees will reduce the number of deaths further.
He said: “BTP maintain a UK-wide presence across the rail network and receive crisis training as a matter of course.
“But they can’t be everywhere, all the time. I think more can be done to spread the importance of spotting danger signs early.
“If anything the presence of a listening ear, someone to talk to, could mean the difference between life and death.”
British Transport Police intervened in 40% more attempts at stations and trackside in 2016 than the year before.
The rise coincided with a reduction in the number of deaths.
During the latest available statistical year 2016-17, BTP recorded a total of 1,593 interventions in suicide attempts on the British mainline rail network, comparing with 1,137 the year before.
By the end of 2016-17, more than 14,500 frontline railway personnel had been trained in how to intervene to prevent suicide attempts and around 1,575 personnel were trained in trauma support.
Mr Bowman was told ScotRail operate conversation cafés on trains approximately four times per year in partnership with the Railway Mission Chaplains. Small groups of people travel on trains outside peak travel times on routes which have had incidences of suicide in the past year, attempting to engage passengers in conversation about mental health issues.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “ScotRail also hold suicide awareness events at major stations to raise awareness and engage people in conversation about mental health awareness.
“This initiative sits alongside the newly launched Small Talk Saves Lives campaign, which is a joint initiative of Network Rail, Samaritans and BTP, asking the public to trust their instincts and look out for fellow passengers who might need help and talk to them if they notice someone who may be at risk of suicide on or around the rail network.
“The campaign aims to give commuters the confidence to trust their own instincts and intervene if they see someone vulnerable who may be at risk of suicide on or around the rail network, and to talk to them to interrupt their suicidal thoughts.
“Network Rail have also installed infrastructure, such as platform end barriers and CCTV aimed at deterring potential suicides in stations and installed signs with contact details for the Samaritans.”