LONDON: The son of a woman killed in the Grayrigg train crash in Cumbria says he has forgiven the engineer who forgot to check the tracks, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has reported.
Margaret Masson, 84, of Glasgow, died after the Virgin train derailed on the West Coast main line in February 2007.
The train went over a “degraded” set of points and careered down an embankment, leaving 88 people injured, including two members of the train crew.
Dave Lewis, a maintenance manager at Network Rail, admitted at a hearing that he was “under pressure” and had forgotten to inspect the points near where the train derailed.
Now, five years after the crash, the BBC brought Lewis and Masson’s son George together to “close a chapter” in their lives.
Speaking about the day he heard the news about his mother, Masson said: “My son rang me at my office and said: ‘Sit down’. “I said: ‘What’s wrong?’ He said: ‘Mum’s been killed’. I just broke down then.”
The following day, Masson and his family went to the crash site.
He said: “We actually saw the train and where my mum was. We stayed there about half an hour.”
At an inquest in November 2011, Lewis said he had been “under pressure” when he failed to patrol a section of the West Coast main line five days before the crash.
He said he had felt like a man “spinning plates on sticks.”
The hearing was told how Lewis had sent an email to his bosses one year before the crash, in which he described the inspection system as a “shambles.”
The jurors heard how an inquiry ruled the “immediate cause” of the crash was that the train had gone over a “degraded and unsafe” set of points, known as Lambrigg 2B.
One of three stretcher bars, which keep moving rails a set distance apart, was missing while the other two were fractured and bolts were missing.
They also heard how Lewis and his team were under-staffed, with workers not given the right tools or enough time to carry out checks.
Lewis said: “I realised what I should have done the weekend prior and I just said to one of our senior managers: ‘That is down to me. Nobody else, that’s me’.
“I would say not a week goes by when I don’t think: ‘If only I’d done that’.”