Floral tributes make news

17 May 2013

The ASLEF annual conference (AAD), which is being held next week in Edinburgh, will debate a motion calling for ‘floral shrines’ to be taken down because of the distress they can cause drivers. These unofficial memorials, which have also included scarves and soft toys, often appear after deaths and on anniversaries.

The Scotsman newspaper picked up on the story, reporting that, ‘About 24people a year are killed on Scotland’s railways, most of them suicides. Many train drivers witness such incidents and some leave their job as a result.

ASLEF’s officer in Scotland, Kevin Lindsay, said, “These floral tributes are a reminder of fatalities on the railway and often drivers endure flashbacks to other fatalities.

‘No-one wishes to come to work and be reminded that someone has died there.

‘Often drivers suffer extreme reactions to fatalities and never return to driving.

‘As a union,we respect the right of families to mourn and believe Network Rail should have a memorial at a major station which families can use as a focal point for their grief.’

The Scotsman also noted that the Samaritan say that trackside shrines can lead to an increase in suicidal behaviour.

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