THE chief executive of Network Rail has made a safety plea in the wake of the deaths of two track workers.
Gareth Delbridge, 64, and Michael Lewis, 58, were killed by a Swansea to London Paddington train on Wednesday morning near Margam in south Wales.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has begun an inquiry, along with British Transport Police.
The two men were wearing ear defenders, but they still should have received the lookout’s warning.
The last fatality was in November 2018, when a track worker was killed by a train near Purley, on the Brighton Main Line.
RAIB chief inspector Simon French said in April that until that incident ‘it had been nearly five years since a track worker was struck and killed by a train. However, in that time there have been too many near misses in which workers have had to jump for their lives at the last moment.’
Meanwhile, Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines has issued a message to all Network Rail staff, in which he expressed his shock. He continued: ‘Gareth and Mike were extremely well respected and experienced members of the Port Talbot track team – together they have given over 84 years' service to the railway. Your many messages of phenomenal support to our colleagues in Wales have bolstered them during this devastating time so I'd like to thank you for all the kindness you are showing each other.’
Mr Haines also urged all staff not to put up with unsafe working practices.
He said: ‘This is a heart-breaking reminder of how dangerous it can be to work on the railway. Please, always continue to challenge anything that seems unsafe, tackle risks as soon as you see them and take personal responsibility for you and your colleagues' safety and well-being.’