Train operators are pulling out all the stops this Christmas to help a charity that looks for missing people.

Station staff at 26 stops on C2C’s Fenchurch Street network are on the lookout for anyone in need of help who may be travelling on the network before they go missing.

The rail company is in partnership with the Missing People charity to get briefings for staff who may come into contact with someone reported lost.

“People at their most vulnerable may think of going missing,” the charity’s chief executive Jo Youle explained. “But we hope to reach them before they disappear and support those in crisis.”

Several people have already been found on the rail network since the arrangement with the company.

One woman in crisis who went missing was Ju Benclowe. She made her way to a station in despair, but is now supporting the charity’s prevention campaign to help others on the brink.

She recalled: “I was not yet ‘missing’ during that first moment when I stood on the platform detached from myself.

“But there was a window of opportunity had I been able to see it, to cut through that growing hopelessness and prevent the situation escalating into the trauma of becoming overwhelmed.”

Jo is supporting the campaign by using her experience of grief and loss “to support those who are in crisis now”.

The campaign also has a sinister element of rescuing vulnerable young people being used by so-called “county line” gangs to transport illicit drugs by train. Children as young as 11 are being drawn into the crime web, campaigners believe.

The rail link-up increases the chance of finding a missing person who may be on the move.

C2C head of security Iain Palmer said: “We’re in a position to help look for missing people who may come into contact with our staff, to help them before situations escalate.”

Discretely looking for someone is sometimes better than publicity which the charity feels can harm the person and cause distress. It may not be safe to start a public appeal for anyone fleeing domestic abuse, for example.

So rail staff are being briefed on what to do if they find a missing person.

The charity supports those missing or thinking about disappearing, with a free and confidential helpline on 116 000.