Initial findings into Grosmont tragedy

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EXPERTS investigating how a volunteer was crushed to death at Grosmont have published their initial findings.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has been looking into how experienced volunteer, Robert Lund (65) from Beverley, became trapped between two coaches on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

The incident happened at around 12.20pm on Monday 21 May at Grosmont station in a procedure that had been done “countless” times before.

He was manually uncoupling two carriages and as the carriage attached to the steam train moved off, the train changed direction, moving back towards the vehicles from which it had been uncoupled and crushing Mr Lund.

The RAIB carried out preliminary examinations, tests and a reconstruction.

They showed the locomotive concerned, an ex-Southern Railway Class S15, was working tender first and could change from reverse to forward gear unless it was prevented from doing so by a locking device.

The report adds: “Should the reverser not be secured in position, any change may not be noticed by the driver and, in these circumstances, would only become evident on opening the regulator, when a change in direction would occur.

“As the uncoupled coach was being drawn off by a steam locomotive working tender first, the direction of the movement changed, causing the locomotive and coach to move back towards the rake of vehicles from which they had been uncoupled.

“This resulted in the guard, who was carrying out the actions necessary following the uncoupling, being crushed between the coaches.”

The RAIB investigation is independent of those being undertaken by the Office of Railway regulation, the British Transport Police and the NYMR itself.

It has said that it will publish its findings and any learning points to improve safety at the end of its investigation.

Meanwhile, the NYMR will be running a reduced service today to allow for its staff and volunteers to attend the funeral of Mr Lund which is taking place this afternoon.

A spokesperson for NYMR added: “We are working closely with the Office of Rail Regulation, the British Transport Police and the Rail Investigation Branch who have given their recommendations. We have taken steps to ensure that this will never be repeated.”