The family of a man who was crushed to death between two rail coaches has secured significant compensation with the backing of Thompsons Solicitors.

Bob Lund, a retired police officer, had been volunteering for the North Yorkshire Moor Railway at Grosmont station for 14 years at the time of the incident.

Uncoupling carriages when accident happened

Bob was uncoupling train carriages, the process of pulling apart coaches, which required him to stand in between the two carriages to unlock them. A locomotive, controlled by a driver, is used to move the coaches once they are uncoupled.

As Bob completed the uncoupling work on two of the remaining carriages, the locomotive suddenly changed direction from reverse to forward gear. The locomotive driver applied the brake but the engine did not stop in time, resulting in Bob’s fatal crush injuries as he stood between the two carriages.

The locomotive driver failed to ensure that the screw reverser, which controls the direction of the train engine, was locked in position. As a result the lever slipped into forward gear pushing the carriage towards Bob rather than away from him.

Dedicated volunteer

Patricia Lund, Bob’s wife of 44 years, said: “Bob thoroughly enjoyed his volunteer work at the station. He worked at Grosmont station every week, even when he was employed as a civilian forensic officer, and after his retirement he volunteered three or four times a week.

“He was a skilled train guard and well-respected at the station, he instructed staff and volunteers how to uncouple carriages. His death was a tragedy.”

After his death, Patricia was put in touch with Thompsons Solicitors through the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO) which represents retired officers like Bob.

The dangers of working on railways

NARPO's CEO, Clint Elliott QPM, said: “Bob’s death is yet another wake up call to those who say health and safety is red tape. This case highlights how important it is to ensure that safety regulations are met, and there are systems in place to guarantee that incidents like the chain of events that resulted in Bob’s untimely death are avoided.”

Phil Kyte, of Thompsons Solicitors who represented Patricia, said: “Bob’s death reinforces the very real dangers of working on railways but also the danger of a lack of thought.

"Bob was 65 at the time of his death, an active man who enjoyed giving up his time to work at Grosmont station and was carrying out a routine task that he was more than competent to complete, yet a momentary lapse from the locomotive driver resulted in a tragic death.”