Guard’s death linked to safety device

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SAFETY experts have urged a heritage railway to learn lessons from the death of a volunteer guard who became trapped between two coaches.

Robert Lund, 65, died in May at Grosmont station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

It happened when the steam locomotive changed direction as the guard was carrying out work associated with uncoupling.

The loco changed direction because its screw reverser – a safety lock – was not locked.

A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch said it was likely the guard saw the loco start to move away and had no reason to believe it would change direction and move towards him.

The railway’s rulebook states that staff must not go between vehicles for any purpose unless the vehicles are at rest.

“Although the guard did not adhere to this rule, it is likely that in seeing the locomotive and coach moving away he believed that it was safe to go between the coaches,” the report noted.

Evidence suggested the driver was unaware of the presence of the guard.

The RAIB found that management systems covering shunting could be improved. The method of training guards “on the job” had the potential to allow poor practices to be learned, it said.

The RAIB identified two “learning points” to improve safety during shunting.

Staff should be made aware that they should never assume that a train moving away from them will continue to move away.

Drivers should remain vigilant during shunting and use the locking device to prevent unintended movement.

A railway spokesman said: “We acknowledge this was an appalling tragedy and our thoughts remain with Bob Lund’s family.”

Safety and training improvements had been implemented, he added.