Railway death a tragic accident

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A Lightcliffe man was killed in a tragic accident as he was hit by a train at a railway crossing while out walking his dog.

William Roberts, who was known better as David, died on September 16 at 2.45pm when he was hit by a train close to Lightcliffe Cricket Club on Wakefield Road. His dog Ben escaped with no injuries.

An inquest held into the 67-year-old’s death at Calderdale Coroners’ Court heard that a post mortem showed Mr Roberts had died of multiple injuries after he was hit by the Northern Rail train. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Neil Hackett, the driver of the Northern Rail train that hit Mr Roberts, said he had done the journey hundreds of times and when the train left the tunnel the three carriage vehicle weighing more than 60 tonnes was travelling at its standard speed of 50mph.

Mr Hackett explained that the track bends round as it leaves the tunnel and the train travelling in the opposite direction had no signal light on to indicate there was a hazard up ahead.

He also said that he sounded his horn at the designated point, which is 12-14 seconds away from the crossing, and then took a drink when he felt an impact with something on the track.

It wasn’t until the train arrived at Bradford Interchange that Mr Hackett was informed he had been involved in a fatality.

Witness John Radcliffe, who was on the putting green at Lightcliffe golf course, said he saw Mr Roberts crossing and was totally oblivious and was looking straight forward when he was crossing before he heard the train approaching.

In a statement read at the inquest, Chris Jackson, head of Northern Rail operations in the North and East, said a full investigation was conducted and said even if Mr Roberts was seen the train would not have stopped in time.

Mr Roberts’ wife Susan said he was really enjoying his retirement and volunteered at a local school to help children with their reading.

She described him as a caring, good man and husband.

Coroner Oliver Longstaff said that it was impossible to say that if Mr Hackett had not taken a drink and seen Mr Roberts at the time and sounded the horn that Mr Roberts could have got out of the way.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.