A steam railway enthusiast was crushed to death after a locomotive slipped into the wrong gear, trapping him between carriages, an inquest heard today.
Retired police officer Robert Lund, 65, died almost instantly from “extreme” chest and abdominal injuries, North Yorkshire Coroners’ Court in Scarborough was told.
Mr Lund, from Beverley, East Yorkshire, was working as a guard on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway when he was fatally injured at Grosmont station on May 21 last year.
Another volunteer, Norman Ash, who was driving the S15 steam locomotive, said Mr Lund was helping him shunt and uncouple carriages at the station shortly before the incident.
Mr Lund unhooked some coaches and signalled the driver to move away, and it is thought he returned to the area between the carriages, the jury heard.
However, the locomotive unexpectedly moved off in the wrong direction, Mr Ash told coroner Michael Oakley.
Mr Ash, a retired professional train driver with more than 50 years’ experience, said it is possible he did not lock a reversing lever into place, which could have allowed the locomotive to slip between forward and reverse.
“I turned round to see which way was I was going and the next thing I knew I was going the opposite way,” he said.
“I slapped the emergency brake on. I was more concerned we were going to collide with the coaches we’d just come off. I never even thought about Mr Lund going back between the coaches.
“There was no impact at all.
“At that point the fireman said to me, ‘is the guard on your side?’. I said no.”
Mr Ash said he got off the footplate, adding: “I found Mr Lund trapped. All I can remember is seeing his legs dangling down from between the coaches. That’s all I could see.”
He said there was no way of freeing Mr Lund so he contacted the signalman and told him to call the emergency services.
“The next thing I knew, the operations manager Mr Hugill came out,” he said. “I think he shouted, ‘Bob, Bob’, a few times but there was no response.”
Mr Ash said they moved the train to release Mr Lund before paramedics and police arrived.
Pathologist Nigel Cooper said Mr Lund died of chest and abdomen injuries.
He added: “The injuries indicated an extreme crushing force. The internal injuries were very severe. I think death must have occurred very quickly due to the severity of the injuries.”