Railway worker died from Asbestos exposure

Died of mesothelioma

23.11.2006

Man who fulfilled his childhood dream of being a train driver died of asbestos-related cancer caused by years of cleaning out fireboxes on engines, an inquest heard.

Thomas Ivor Anderton, died aged 67, after working on the railways from Preston Station since he was 15, a hearing at Preston Coroner's Court was told.

The father of three started out cleaning fireboxes on the trains as he worked toward his dream job, He was so keen colleagues nicknamed him "The Vicar" as he always worked Sundays.

His widow, Beatrice Anderton, told the inquest: "They had to climb right into the fireboxes and clean them out."

Fireboxes were often lined with asbestos but Mrs Anderton said she did not recall her husband mentioning it. She said: "He just went and did his job.

Thomas took early retirement aged 58. But in 2005, despite being healthy and taking long walks every day, he fell ill. His wife said: "In October or November he started with a cough. "It was a cough like I'd never heard before. It was really bad."

He was referred to the chest clinic at Royal Preston Hospital where doctors asked if he had worked with asbestos.

A post mortem found he died of pneumonia due to mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

But assistant deputy coroner Nicola Mundy said she felt unable to record a verdict of death by industrial disease.

Exposure to asbestos

She gave a narrative verdict that he died due to exposure to asbestos "but from an uncertain source".

After the inquest, Mrs Anderton said: "He said he always wanted to work on the railway and, like other little boys, be a train driver. He never worked anywhere else."