Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 1°C

Search

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

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’.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Bungling ramraiders were foiled when their vehicle got stuck on a bollard as they tried to smash their way into an Ipswich Co-op today.

A former Ipswich woman now living in Italy has fond memories of her time working at the old ABC Cinema and in the Woolworths offices in the town.

The widow of a man killed in the Tunisia terror attack has described how she “played dead” after they were both gunned down as they relaxed on a 30th wedding anniversary holiday, during an inquest into her husband’s death.

Volunteers have been helping the crew of a ship which saw one man killed and left another seriously injured in an explosion last week come to terms with the loss.

No cuts will be made to IVF in east Suffolk after a public consultation, medics have revealed this morning.

It’s the annual Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend, and we want to see your photographs from across Suffolk.

Motorists across Suffolk are being warned they may experience delays on Sunday, January 29 as police escort an abnormal load through the county.

Rush hour commuters are experiencing long delays on the A14 this morning after a crash.

MPs and peers will have to vote before Theresa May can formally start divorce proceedings from the European Union.

Get involved with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24