Socialist Worker

Manslaughter conviction over rail workers' deaths

Issue No. 1993

A privatised rail contractor was sentenced to nine years imprisonment last week for the manslaughter of four maintenance workers near Tebay in Cumbria in 2004.

Colin Buckley, Darren Burgess, Chris Waters and Gary Tindall died almost instantly after a runaway wagon, laden with 16 tonnes of steel rail track ploughed into them at 40 miles per hour.

They were working on the west coast mainline. Boss Mark Connolly had deliberately dismantled the hydraulic brakes on two of his wagons to save money.

His co-accused, Roy Kennett, was sentenced to two years for manslaughter and breaching health and safety laws.

Bob Crow, the RMT rail workers’ union general secretary, said, “Four men died at Tebay as the result of cynical and deliberate tampering with a vehicle to hide the fact that it was not fit for its purpose, and for no other reason than making money.

“The railways’ safety culture has been systematically undermined by privatisation, and it is that basic faultline that must be repaired. Profit and safety do not mix – and the privateers must go.”

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Sat 25 Mar 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1993
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