Objectives and methodology

Origins of the project

This study was commissioned by Transport Canada in 2009, as part of a larger project to assess the nature and extent  of railway suicides in Canada and propose prevention strategies. Data collection took place in 2010 with the collaboration of the Teamsters of Canada, Rail Conference (Union) and class one railway carriers across the country.


The main objective of this part of the project is to understand the impact of train fatalities on crew members in order to identify ways to better intervene to reduce and prevent the negative effects.

Research Methodology

Retrospective interviews were conducted with crew members who had experienced at least one suicide during the course of their career. These interviews were conducted face to face or over the telephone.

Interviews included questions asking the crew member to  describe the suicides and other fatalities they experienced, close calls and non-fatal incidents that were notable to the interviewee, the interventions and actions of emergency services called to the scene, the intervention and actions of the supervisor and railway company officials in the aftermaths of the incidents, the consequences of the incident (short and long term), help provided and recommendations made by the interviewees for better help for them and how to prevent suicides on the railway network.

Interviews were audio taped, transcribed and analysed using a qualitative analysis methodology.