Northern train conductor helps two young missing girls safely return home

Paul Wilkinson has been praised for his "quick-thinking" actions.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 30th March 2023

Two young missing girls from Blackpool were able to safely return home thanks to the work of a “quick-thinking” train conductor.

Conductor Paul Wilkinson – who has worked for Northern for nearly 16 years – was working onboard a service from Blackpool North to York one evening last week (22 March) when he sensed that “something wasn’t quite right” with two of the passengers.

After his instincts kicked-in, Paul approached the passengers – who where two teenage girls under the age of 16 – and was eventually able to ascertain that they had, in their words, “run away from home”.

Paul then immediately alerted British Transport Police (BTP) to the situation.

BTP then intercepted the train at Leeds station after Paul’s “quick-thinking” actions, before taking the girls into their duty of care, and reuniting them with their families.

Northern train conductor helps two young missing girls safely return home / Credit: Northern

Inspector Pete Wilcock from the British Transport Police praised Paul for being tuned-in to spotting the signs of children who are “vulnerable or at risk”.

He explained: “As guardians of the railway, we are constantly working with and training rail staff on how to look beyond the obvious and spot the signs of children who are vulnerable or at risk. And we continue to work together, sharing intelligence and knowledge, to create a network of people who can understand, identify and help support and safeguard children.


“That’s exactly what Paul did.

“Thanks to his quick thinking the girls were returned home once safeguarding checks had been completed.”

This incident comes after Northern teamed up with charity Railway Children back in 2022, and began the process of training its 7,000-strong workforce in how to spot vulnerable people on the railway and have the confidence to intervene.

He’s been praised for his “quick-thinking” actions / Credit: Northern

Paul urged people to “always trust your instincts” in these situations.

“I’ve worked on the railway for nearly 16 years and you meet hundreds if not thousands of customers every day, but through experience and training you can feel when something isn’t quite right, and you know that you need to call BTP,” Paul admitted after the incident.

Read more:

Northern’s Regional Director Chris Jackson also said he “applauds” Paul’s actions, adding that: “He responded as any one of our staff would do when getting the sense that something wasn’t quite right.

“I’m glad these young girls were found and returned home.”

Featured Image – Northern