Railway urged to make safety improvements after death of Beverley man
NORTH Yorkshire Moors Railway has been urged to make safety improvements after a Beverley man was killed, trapped between two train carriages.
Robert Lund, 65, died after he was crushed while working as a volunteer guard at Grosmont in May this year.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has recommended that the railway review its safety management arrangements covering shunting and implement improvements.
Investigators discovered Mr Lund had detached the coaches and the accident happened when one of the carriages changed direction.
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It read: "The driver applied the emergency brake as soon as he realised this.
"But there was insufficient distance in which to stop and avoid trapping the guard, who had moved back between the coaches to complete the work associated with the uncoupling."
The report revealed the coach changed direction after its gear shifted from reverse to forward.
It stated: "It was able to move in this way because the driver had not fitted a mechanical latch to prevent it moving.
"The RAIB also found that, while not being related to the causes of the accident, the railway's safety management arrangements covering shunting should be improved."
The report urged the company to warn staff of the risks associated with the unintended movement of screw reversers while steam locomotives are in motion and the steps to take to stop it happening. It also urged staff to be informed of safe working practices while undertaking shunting duties.
The rail company has vowed to learn lessons from the death of Mr Lund, a former policeman.
Philip Benham, general manager at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), said: "NYMR is determined to learn not just the immediate lessons from this tragedy, but also any wider messages about how we can further improve the safety of our operations as a whole."
NYMR has already carried out its own investigation and issued instructions on shunting.
It has told staff not to go between vehicles, even if there is a movement away following uncoupling, unless they are all stationary and confirmation has been received from the driver no movement will take place.
The railway has also implemented an improved system to monitor when routine medicals are due.
The RAIB initially issued an urgent safety advice drawing attention to the risks of unplanned change of direction if the locomotive reverser is not property secured by the locking device.
Mr Benham said: "This has obviously been a tragic event that has had a profound effect upon everyone working on NYMR.
"Bob was the very best of volunteers – a man of great integrity who carried out his work as a guard with great care and professionalism.
"He was a longstanding volunteer who, as well as working as a guard, was also chairman of the Grosmont Station Group.
"A friend and valued colleague of us all, he will be deeply missed by the whole railway."