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Colin Fraser

Chaplain to East Midlands

Railway Mission Chaplains: Supporting Rail Staff on Life's Journey

In the first of a new blog series, we shine the spotlight on members of our dedicated chaplaincy team and their invaluable work supporting rail staff on life's journey. Members of the team will share their motivations, daily responsibilities and the impact of their work across the rail industry.

Next to feature in our series is Colin Fraser.

Colin’s area of responsibility covers the East Midlands region - Barnsley to Wellingborough, St Pancras (London) and Rugby (home station).

What inspired you to become a railway chaplain?

I was introduced to railway chaplaincy while working with a prison chaplaincy team in my local area.


I find it fulfilling when somebody says that talking with me has helped them. It does motivate me when the support of a chaplain is recommended by another member of railway staff. “Speak to Colin the chaplain, he is a good bloke to talk to.”

How do you spend a typical day in the role?

I cover a wide area, with some places being covered by one train service an hour. With that in mind, my days can vary in terms of how many places I visit. Some areas have just a small ticket office at the railway station other areas will have a ticket office along with other departments at the railway station. Quite often there might be a Network Rail depot nearby and sometimes a signal box within walking distance. Visits can vary from just talking about day-to-day things but those conversations can also open up to other concerns and thoughts a person may have.

How do you tailor your chaplaincy work to the specific needs and challenges faced by railway employees?

Demonstrating that you are not pressed for time as a chaplain often goes a long way with railway staff as the demand for their time or attention can quickly change depending on the staff member's role. The railway industry is very unique so taking time to understand some of the nuances of the railway can create a version of shorthand when communicating with staff that can allow for connections with people to be made a bit easier sometimes.

How does your faith play a role in the support you provide and how do you navigate the diversity of beliefs and backgrounds of the railway workers with whom you interact?

In the Christian faith, Jesus calls for believers to love one another and not be in judgment of others. This plays a key role in being a chaplain as we work alongside people from various cultures, faiths and backgrounds. There are many common grounds that connect people such as mental health. People like to know that you care before they care what you know. Being known on the railway as a “chaplain” sometimes invites honest faith/religious questions from people about things they see around them. These questions sometimes lead to a wider conversation around faith and belief systems.


Where appropriate I will share with someone about how my faith and beliefs have influenced me -such as losing my mum to Alzheimer’s in 2022.

Can you share a memorable experience from your time as a chaplain?

One day I was thinking to myself what good am I doing as a chaplain, a few minutes later a senior conductor (guard) tapped me on the shoulder and said “nice to see you”. A week later that same senior conductor phoned asking for some support.


Having spent time routinely visiting staff at a particular station. I received a phone call from a staff member to say that a family member had passed away. They were phoning to ask for some bereavement support but also asking if I would take the funeral because it would be more personal for them.

What message or advice would you like to share with railway employees and their families who may be reading this blog post?

We are here to provide support regardless of circumstances. Sometimes talking with somebody who is a step removed from your everyday life can help with getting a bit of perspective on whatever is going on around you. What you share with a chaplain remains confidential - unless something is shared that could put yourself or another at risk.

Finally, how can people inside and outside the railway industry support the work of Railway Mission and chaplains like you?

People can financially support Railway Mission as our work is funded through donations given by individuals and railway companies that see the benefit of the chaplain service. People can pray for the work of Railway Mission and individual chaplains. The chaplains are open to coming and sharing at different community events regarding the work of Railway Mission and the chaplains.

Further information can be found on our website www.railwaymission.org

Keep an eye out for the next in our railway chaplain blog post series.