Railway fanatic "crushed to death after steam train slipped into wrong gear and trapped him between carriages"


Railway fanatic 'crushed to death after steam train slipped into wrong gear and trapped him between carriages'
Robert Lund, 65, crushed while working on North Yorkshire Moors Railway Retired police officer standing behind train that took off in wrong directionPathologist said that he died of 'extreme' injuries to chest and abdomen

By
Mario Ledwith

PUBLISHED:

19:20 GMT, 30 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:05 GMT, 31 January 2013

A steam train enthusiast was crushed to death when a train took off in the wrong direction while he was standing behind it, trapping him between two carriages.

Retired police officer Robert Lund, 65, died almost instantly from 'extreme' chest and abdominal injuries, an inquest heard today.

He had been helping a fellow volunteer uncouple carriages at Grosmont station, when he signalled for the driver to take off.

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Inquest: Retired police officer Robert Lund, 65, died almost instantly after the incident at Grosmont station, an inquest at North Yorkshire Coroners Court heard today

Inquest: Retired police officer Robert Lund, 65, died almost instantly after the incident at Grosmont station, an inquest at North Yorkshire Coroners' Court heard today

But the locomotive unexpectedly moved off in the wrong direction, North Yorkshire Coroners’ Court was told.

Mr Lund, was working as a guard on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, when the incident took place on May 21 last year.

It is thought Mr Lund, from Beverley, East Yorkshire, returned to the area between the carriages before he was struck.

Norman Ash, who was driving the S15
steam locomotive, said it was possible he did not lock a
reversing lever into place, which could have allowed the locomotive to
slip between forward and reverse.

Enthusiast: A steam train pictured on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where 'enthusiast' on which Mr Lund worked as a guard

Enthusiast: A steam train pictured on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where 'enthusiast' on which Mr Lund worked as a guard

The retired professional train driver with more than 50 years’ experience, said: 'I turned round to see which way was I was going and the next thing I knew I was going the opposite way.

'I slapped the emergency brake on. I
was more concerned we were going to collide with the coaches we’d just
come off. I never even thought about Mr Lund going back between the
coaches.

He added: 'There was no impact at all. At that point the fireman said to me, ‘is the guard on your side’. I said no.'

Mr Ash said he got off the footplate, adding: 'I found Mr Lund trapped. All I can remember is seeing his legs dangling down from between the coaches. That’s all I could see.'

He said there was no way of freeing Mr Lund so he contacted the signalman and told him to call the emergency services.

'The next thing I knew, the operations manager Mr Hugill came out'” he said.

'I think he shouted, ‘Bob, Bob’, a few times but there was no response.'

Mr Ash said they moved the train to release Mr Lund before paramedics and police arrived.

Pathologist Nigel Cooper said Mr Lund died of chest and abdomen injuries.

He added: 'The injuries indicated an extreme crushing force. The internal injuries were very severe. I think death must have occurred very quickly due to the severity of the injuries.'

Accident investigators said the incident was 'highly unusual' and experts had re-enacted some of the events to figure out what happened.

Both Mr Lund and Mr Ash were both very experienced railwaymen in whom the investigators had complete confidence, Chris Hall, of the Rail Accident Investigation Board, told jurors.

He said Mr Lund would have had 'no reason to believe' the train would change direction, which was most likely caused by the driver forgetting to lock the reverse lever.

'If it was the case that he didn’t apply the latch, it is probably a case of simple forgetfulness that all human beings are capable of,' Mr Hall added.

The inquest will resume tomorrow, when the jury will be sent out to consider its verdict.

VIDEO: North Yorkshire Moors railway where pensioner was crushed

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