Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 8°C

Search

Bury St Edmunds/Great Barton: Train driver “devastated” at speeding investigation took his own life at Cattishall level crossing

PUBLISHED: 19:39 05 June 2014

Cattishall level crossing

Cattishall level crossing

A train driver left “devastated” at being investigated for a speeding breach took his own life at a west Suffolk level crossing, an inquest has heard.

Neil Saunders, of Bury St Edmunds, had a previously unblemished record in 15 years as a train driver until the brief lack of concentration resulted in the speeding incident, the inquest was told.

The 44-year-old was reportedly left with “concerns and anxieties” after the incident, and took his life at the Cattishall level crossing in Great Barton in February – four months after his train passed through a stop signal.

He was due to get back in control of a train for a new job on the night of the tragedy.

Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean told the hearing in Bury that Mr Saunders was left “devastated” by the investigation, which led to him leaving his job.

Dr Dean added: “He lived for the job and took great pride in being a very good train driver.

“Prior to this he had an unblemished record of service and clean sickness record. It does appear the incident had undermined his confidence to a certain extent.

“Although people around him loved him and cared for him, he clearly had worries about the previous incident, concerns and anxieties, but I don’t think anybody could have predicted the action he took that night.”

The signal passed at danger (SPAD) incident happened in November, while Mr Saunders was working for Direct Rail Services.

An investigation found he had exceeded the speed limit on part of the track, which was attributed to a brief lack of concentration due to some concerns he had at the time.

The 44-year-old of Plovers Way, near Nowton Park, found new employment with Freightliner Heavy Haul, and was reportedly left feeling “upbeat” after an initial assessment.

However, on February 24 – a week after the assessment – he was due to meet his new team leader in Peterborough for a night shift, but instead headed to the level crossing off Mount Road.

He was hit by a passenger train travelling from Ipswich to Cambridge at around 8pm, the inquest heard.

The driver of the train reported seeing Mr Saunders standing in the “four foot” – the space between the two tracks – facing away from the oncoming train.

The driver applied the emergency brakes, but did not have time to sound the horn.

Mr Saunders had dinner with his family before he left that night and reportedly there was “nothing untoward”, but he had discussed his new job with his wife Kate during the day.

Dr Dean said: “There was some discussion during the day about whether he was worried about going to work, and one gets the sense of some concern, but she gave him reassurance and he said ‘he wished he had her optimism’.”

A woman and three teenagers have appeared in court charged with Class A drugs offences in Ipswich.

A new housing plan set up to oversee the building of just under 10,000 new homes in Ipswich by 2031 sparked a heated debate at a full council meeting tonight as several councillors had their say.

Concerned members of the public phoned police today reporting that a fight had broken out between a large group of children.

Bosses of a Felixstowe care home have lauded their staff for snapping quickly into action and heeding advice from the health watchdog after it was told it must make urgent improvements.

A proud daughter is preparing to run the inaugural Great East Run in Suffolk this weekend to raise money for a cause close to her heart.

A Suffolk father whose flight was cancelled by Ryanair at just a week’s notice because the company messed up its pilots’ rota has had to fork out hundreds of pounds so he can still take his son to see their favourite football team play.

Mystery surrounds the return of Christchurch Park’s most famous feathered friend as several reported sightings of Mabel prompted a community group to celebrate her arrival.

Plans to regenerate a derelict former industrial site off Hadleigh Road in Ipswich with more than 120 homes have been given the green light.

When Ipswich brewers Tolly Cobbold went on the expansion trail in the 1930s they built some rather grand pubs, in Ipswich and beyond, in a mock baronial style.

A quarter of girls and one in 10 boys show signs of depression at the age of 14, new research has revealed.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24