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Quorn man killed on railway track - failed to hear workmate's warning

Loughborough Echo - 19th September 1958

A 71 years old Quorn platelayer stepped clear of one train and was struck by another coming from the opposite direction, after he had failed to hear the shouts of a workmate, an inquest jury was told at Loughborough on Monday.

They returned a verdict of accidental death at the resumed inquest on Mr Samuel Wills, of 21 Mansfield-street, Quorn, who was killed on Tuesday of last week on the line near Woodthorpe-lane Bridge, Loughborough.

Mr Percy Lovett, 8 Nursery-lane, Quorn, said he was one of four men (five with the ganger) who were working on the lines between Loughborough and Quorn. Mr Wills, he said, was tightening up the nuts on the "up" line with a spanner. Then, said Mr Lovett, he saw "The Master Cutler" (Sheffield-London Marylebone express) coming along the same line and he shouted to Wills to stand clear. The train was under caution and was travelling at only about 15 miles per hour.

After he had shouted he saw an express parcels train coming at a fast speed on the "down" line. He turned round to see where Mr Wills was and he discovered that he was standing on the "down" line in the path of the train.

"He had got his head down and was looking towards the "Cutler", said Mr Lovett. "I shouted to him, but he didnít seem to hear," Then, he said, the express parcels train passed him and obscured his view. He afterwards found Mr Wills body lying on the "down" line.

He said he had worked with Mr Wills for five years. The dead man had very good hearing and was a careful workman. Mr Lovett said there had been no flagman to warn the workmen of approaching trains as the lines were straight for a mile in each direction.

Mr Cyril Stott, of 115 Raymede-drive, Bestwood Estate, Nottingham, said he was the driver of the express parcels train, which was going from Banbury to Nottingham. The train was going at 45 mph when approaching Loughborough, where it was not due to stop, he said. Mr Stott said he saw a platelayer (Mr Lovett) cupping his hands and shouting. He thought the platelayer was shouting to him and he looked to see if he could see anything. The next thing he knew was that the brakes were being put on. The impact had broken the vacuum pipe and the brakes had been applied automatically.

The North Leicestershire Coroner (Mr M H Moss), referring to the fact that the engine driver had not seen Mr Wills, reminded the jury that the duties of an engine driver were entirely different to those of a person driving a car on the highway. It was, he said, the duty of an engine driver to see that the signals were "clear", but, after he had done this, there was no need for him to keep his eyes on the track the whole time.

The members of the jury asked that their fees by given to Mr Wills's widow. As stated in last week's Echo, he also leaves a daughter, Mrs Ruth White, of Loughborough.

Mr J Rodgers represented Mrs Wills, Mr G Culshaw the British Transport Commission and Coun. G H Sharpe the N.U.R.

 Submitted on: 2011-10-19
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 1410
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page

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