The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is facing a claim of “substantial” damages over what a coroner called the “really tragic death” of a volunteer guard.
The inquest into the death of the father-of-one, who was crushed between two coaches at the railway’s station in Grosmont, ruled the death was an accident.
Following the verdict victim Bob Lund’s widow Patricia said; “It was a comfort that he died doing something he loved and enjoyed. The verdict was what we expected.”
However, family solicitor Kevin Hughes said; “The verdict reinforces our view that a civil claim is likely to produce substantial damages.”
Coroner Michael 0akley said retired policeman Bob Lund, 65, was partly a victim of “a moment of forgetfulness” by train driver Norman Ash in “not locking the reversing gear”.
But Mr Lund had also broken the rules by going back on to the tracks while Mr Ash’s S15 steam loco was still reversing away, with the Great Western carriage attached to the front of the engine.
The hearing at Scarborough Town Hall was told that Mr Lund was standing with his back turned working on the carriage that had been left behind during the shunting operation when tragedy struck as Mr Ash’s engine suddenly started going forward again.
Summing up the two day inquest, Mr Oakley said: “The North Yorkshire Moors Railway rule book states no one should go between vehicles for any purpose unless the vehicles are at rest.
“Strictly speaking, in this case the rule has been infringed by the diseased.
“But for all practical purposes you may think it was not unreasonable of him to enter on the line to carry out the tidying up of the carriage.”
Underlining Mr Ash was “absolutely competent”, the coroner added: “Mr Ash appears to have had a moment of forgetfulness in not locking the reverse gear.”
But at the same time Mr Lund had gone onto the tracks and it was “the combination which led to this really tragic death.”
Rail company general manager Philip Benham said: “This clearly was a tragedy. It was the most traumatic event we have ever had.
“We had the greatest respect for Bob Lund. If we can make things safer it would be a memorial to Bob Lund. We feel the verdict is a fair conclusion.”