Asbestos exposure killed train driver

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A man who worked with steam locomotives died from a rare cancer after years of asbestos exposure.

Retired train driver Alfred Bryant, 76, of Dundale Road, Tring, had started out cleaning trains, before becoming a stoker and then a driver.

During a hearing into his death on Thursday, Herts coroner Edward Thomas said: “He would touch asbestos and knock bits off as he cleaned. He would also be present when others removed asbestos material.”

Some of the train cabs were insulated with asbestos. “In the early days the locomotives wobbled and rattled along which caused the asbestos to be disturbed,” said Mr Thomas.

The married 76-year-old was diagnosed with mesothelioma last summer after suffering with shortness of breath and chest pain.

Mr Thomas said: “I’m satisfied that for a substantial period of his working life he was exposed to asbestos.”

“His symptoms and the dates of his exposure to asbestos are very consistent to the development of mesothelioma.”

Married Mr Bryant had continued to work on the railways as a part-time customer services assistant until the age of 75. He died at his home on December 6. Mr Thomas recorded that he died of industrial disease through mesothelioma “through an occupation that, when safe, he obviously really loved.”