Saturday, August 13th, 2022

Trainspotter and son, nine, save man’s life at Taunton station | Rail transport

A paramedic who was spending his day off trainspotting with his nine-year-old son saved the life of a young man who lay down in front of a train moments before its departure.

Andy Nickolls, 57, and his son Jacob were the only ones who saw the man jumping from the platform at Taunton station in Somerset and lying on the rails.

Seeing that the signal had turned to green and the train was about to move, the pair waved their hands frantically and shouted to attract the attention of the driver.

Eventually realising what was happening, the driver applied his emergency brakes and station staff talked the man off the tracks.

Nickolls said his son, who is obsessed with railways and has his own YouTube channel devoted to trainspotting, called Jacob’s Train Adventures, appeared to have taken the incident in his stride.

“He was more resilient than I expected. At school they do a lot of work on mental health,” he said. “Not many nine-year-olds can say they have done something like that. I don’t think it was heroic, we didn’t jump in front of the train or anything but it was a positive outcome.”

Nickolls said he and Jacob decided to go to Taunton station on Wednesday though it was rainy and cold and positioned themselves on the central platform.

He said: “We were waiting for the train from York when out of the corner of our eyes we saw a lad hovering. The train came in and stopped and the lad lay in front of the train. The driver hadn’t seen him.

“My son said: ‘Dad – quick, the signal has gone green.’ We started to shout and scream and jump up and down. The driver looked at us but couldn’t hear what we were saying. We pointed at the tracks and he eventually peered in front of his cab and must have been able to see the lad’s legs so he put the emergency brakes on.”

The young man was helped and the driver gave Nickolls and Jacob a cheery wave as he drove off.

Nickolls spent 31 years working for the ambulance service and now serves on the council of governors for South Western Ambulance NHS trust. He remains a registered paramedic.

He said he was proud of how his son reacted. “Jacob took it really well; he was more worried about the lad. It was a split-second decision to act. The lad would have been killed instantly if the train had moved.”

A British Transport Police spokesperson said the man was taken to safety.

“British Transport Police received a report of concern for the welfare of a person at Taunton railway station at 11.43am on Wednesday, 29 December,” the spokesperson said. “Rail staff colleagues at the station assisted and the person was taken to a place of safety.”

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