A young man who wanted to end his life has credited a scheme heading to Glasgow Central as the reason he is still here.

Corey Paterson admits if it wasn’t for Railway Children – a project designed to protect young, vulnerable people on the rail network – he may not be here today.

The group, an international children’s charity, launched its Safeguarding on Transport programme at Glasgow Central Station on Monday.

Glasgow Times: The initiative is being supported by Alstom and Avanti West Coast as well as the BTPThe initiative is being supported by Alstom and Avanti West Coast as well as the BTP (Image: Tom Grant)

The aim is, alongside the rail industry and the British Transport Police (BTP), to spot and raise awareness of young people in vulnerable situations, such as those leaving home to escape family conflict, abuse, mental health issues or exploitation by criminal gangs.

And Corey, who now works with the charity, revealed he was one of those vulnerable people seven years ago, before Railway Children came to his aid.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme, he said: “My mental health was at an extremely low point.

“I thought there was no way out, there is no way I can get any help to sort this out.

“The rest is history. I was referred to the Railway Children and I’ve been healthy ever since.”

And added: “If it wasn’t for Railway Children, I might be six feet under.

“If it wasn’t for Railway Children, I wouldn’t be where I am today, I wouldn’t be who I am today, I wouldn’t have what I have today.”

Glasgow Times: Officers from the BTP were at the launchOfficers from the BTP were at the launch (Image: Tom Grant)

It’s Railway Children’s first venture into Scotland, with Glasgow Central one of the top five UK stations for safeguarding incidents reported to British Transport Police (BTP).

In 2022/23, out of 962 Safeguarding and Vulnerability Reports for incidents occurring in Scotland involving children and young people, 181 (20%) were for Glasgow Central.

And DSI Richard Mann, Head of Public Protection Vulnerability at the BTP, insisted the new initiative will coincide with a culture change in the rail industry in Scotland.

He said: “The railway stations are like a magnet for runaway children. They haven’t got a car, you need a ticket to get on a bus, but you can bunk a train.

“Or you can go to a train station and there are toilets, there’s food, there are other people, there are capable guardians, it’s warm and dry, and they feel safe.

Glasgow Times: Corey told his story at the launch of the schemeCorey told his story at the launch of the scheme (Image: Tom Grant)

“We were identifying all these children, really troubled, difficult, terrible circumstances.

“The longer they ran away, the more harm they were likely to come to.

“We could make referrals to statutory social services but their threshold for their care and support, was almost so high, they weren’t able to intervene at the early stages.

“And what Railway Children have done, is step into that void.”

Before adding: “Years and years ago, the railway industry was seen as, if you haven’t got a ticket, get off the train and get out the station.

“Whereas now, the railway industry, railway staff and BTP, are more concerned about protecting young, vulnerable people and will try and offer that tangible support when they can.”

Francesca McKay, Railway Children’s Regional Manager for Scotland, explained although the focus is on Glasgow Central, it will cover young people travelling between the Gordon Street rail hub and Queen Street as well.