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Rail worker dies in cherry picker fall

An engineer has died after falling 70 feet while he inspected a railway viaduct.

The man, who has not been named but is believed to be in his 40s, died at the scene when the “cherry picker” vehicle toppled over on Tuesday morning, police said.

He was working in Stewarton, Ayrshire, as a contractor for Network Rail. It is understood he was working for Glasgow contractors SW Global Resourcing.

A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said: “Around 9.35am, a man, believed to be in his 40s, died after the ‘cherry-picker’ vehicle he was working from appears to have toppled as he inspected the railway viaduct at Stewartonfrom below.

“The man, who died at the scene, was working as a contractor for Network Rail and would appear to have a fallen a height of approximately 70 feet.”

The spokesman said BTP officers and Strathclyde Police were sent to the scene and an investigation into the circumstances was under way.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch and the Office of Rail Regulation have been informed.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “An engineering contractor has died following an accident on the road beneath Stewarton Viaduct.

“We are working with the police and our contractors to investigate the cause of the incident. Our thoughts are with the man’s family at this time.”

The firm said the accident happened around a mile away from the scene of a major derailment and fire which took place in January last year. A report into the incident found that heavy corrosion in the metal girders of the bridge caused a “catastrophic” failure in the structure’s supports.

An Office of Rail Regulation spokeswoman said: “Our inspectors have launched an investigation to find out exactly what happened and quickly identify whether more should be done to prevent other deaths or injuries.”