Runaway train leaves Aslef member traumatised10 February 2009
Compensation for Accident at Work
Francis Dolan, 63, from Carlisle received the damages after his union instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.
His employers EWS Railways admitted liability and settled out of court.
Mr Dolan, who took early retirement after being signed off on long term sick leave, worked on the railways for 45 years before the incident in 2004.
He was driving an engine to assist a broken down train carrying 2,000 tonnes of coal on a line 1 mile South of Carlisle.
But the broken down train’s brakes failed on a slope and the train was hurtling at 25 to 30 mph towards Mr Dolan’s engine.
Injured back and Ribs in Fall
Mr Dolan managed to forewarn his colleagues on the engine before jumping off. He hurt his back and ribs in the fall and still suffers from nightmares from the incident.
The train was halted by crashing into Mr Dolan’s engine and fortunately stayed on the tracks.
He said the dangerous scenario could have had devastating results: “I dread to think about what could have happened on that day. The train was effectively running away and if we had not been there to stop it it could have crashed into a passenger train or derailed in a station.
“If we had been a few minutes later it would have crashed into our engine at 50mph and I would not be here today.
“It was always my ambition to work on the railways and I achieved that, but as a result of this accident I will never work on a train again.
“I felt it was important to claim compensation as I’d probably be the most senior train driver in the Carlisle depot if this accident hadn’t happened.”
Robust Health and Safety procedures are imperative
Aslef General Secretary Keith Norman added: “Train operators owe it to the drivers and to members of the public to ensure their engines are safe. Mr Dolan and his colleagues were lucky to have escaped this incident with their lives. This was a disaster waiting to happen and it is only right that Mr Dolan is compensated for his employer’s negligence.”
Paul Morpeth from Thompsons Solicitors added: “This accident could have been prevented if there had been proper procedures in place to inspect and maintain brakes on the train. It is imperative for train operators to have robust health and safety procedures to protect not just their employees but also their passengers.”
This news story was also published by The Cumberland News.
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