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Joint inquiry launched into track deaths

TRANSPORT police and safety inspectors are investigating the death of two rail workers mowed down during track renewal work in Staffordshire on Tuesday.

The 45-year old from Burnley, Lancashire, and his 37-year old colleague from Sheffield were hit during a track possession near Cannock between Rugeley North and Rycroft junctions.

Both men were working for VG Clements, a direct labour supplier subcontracted to Carillion's rail division.

A Health and Safety Executive spokeswoman said:'The two men dismounted from an engineering train onto an adjacent track and were struck and killed by an oncoming road-rail machine.'

Three other workers were taken to Stafford General Hospital suffering from shock and were later discharged. A British Transport Police spokesman said a joint inquiry into the cause of the tragedy had been launched with the HSE.

The incident follows the death of four Carillion rail workers killed by a runaway wagon on the West Coast Main Line at Tebay in Cumbria in February.

Sean Fitzpatrick, managing director of VG Clements, expressed his sympathy to the families of the dead men but said there would be no further comment until an investigation has been completed.

Rail union RMT general secretary Bob Crow, said:'Once more we demand that all track renewals be brought back in-house in one single, sensible structure.'