A former railway worker from Luton has received compensation after asbestos exposure caused him to develop a disabling lung condition.

The ASLEF member began his career as a train engine cleaner in 1956 at a Stratford-based yard. His colleagues would dismantle train engines and remove asbestos boiler insulation, which caused asbestos dust to settle on his hair and clothes.

After he retired, he had a routine check-up for a heart condition, which discovered that he had fluid on his lung. Further tests confirmed he had developed pleural thickening which can be caused by asbestos.

He contacted ASLEF and instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a compensation claim on his behalf and was awarded full compensation.

He said: “I initially thought my breathing problems were related to my heart condition, so it was a complete shock when the doctor diagnosed me with pleural thickening.

“I was really concerned about the legal procedure, but thankfully my union put me in contact with Thompsons, who dealt with my case professionally and sympathetically. I am extremely grateful for the help and advice I’ve been given about my claim.”

Mick Whelan, general secretary at ASLEF, said: “Our member was never provided with any protective equipment throughout the course of his career, which left him defenceless against inhaling asbestos.

“As a member of ASLEF, he was able to receive 100% of the compensation secured for him.”

Jackie Wood, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “This is a clear example of how the symptoms of asbestos disease can arise decades after the asbestos exposure occurred. By contacting ASLEF after he was diagnosed with the asbestos disease, the member has received full compensation.”