A FORMER Metro driver who injured his back and shoulder leading stranded passengers to safety has been awarded more than £7,000 damages.
But grandfather Glyn Richardson, 63, a Metro train driver for 22 years, said last night said he was “angry and saddened” that his former employers Nexus fought the award in court.
Nexus had appealed against an earlier court ruling in Mr Richardson’s favour – but the case was thrown out and the company ordered to pay the £7,300 damages by Judge Christopher Walton.
A court had ruled in October last year that Mr Richardson, of Moorland House, Moulton Place, Blakelaw, Newcastle, was due to the compensation, but the money was withheld pending appeal.
Trevor Graham, branch secretary of the rail union Aslef, which secured the compensation through its free legal help scheme with personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors, said: “It’s an outrage that Nexus was prepared to fight this case all the way to court.
“All employers have a duty of care to their employees and the medical experts – an orthopaedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon – both confirmed back in 2006 that it was the walking on ballast which had caused the back and shoulder injuries.”
Mr Richardson said last night he and his passengers could have been electrocuted following the incident between Newcastle Airport and Callerton Parkway Metro stations.
He said: “The train came to a halt because of the failure of an overhead power line.
“I was told by control that the power had been switched off, and I helped two front seat passengers, a man and his five-year-old son, off the train inches from the overhanging cable. I walked them 500 metres or so to Callerton station and then walked back to the train to assist others.
“By that time back-up staff had arrived and one asked me why I was out of the train. He told me the current was still live.”
Mr Richardson suffered his injuries helping passengers from the carriages to the track, then walking along the ballast at the side of the track.
He said: “I feel angry and saddened that Nexus tried to withhold what the court had awarded me.
“I was on the buses before the Metro so I had worked for the same company for almost 30 years.
“Ironically I received a letter of commendation from my employers for the way I dealt with the incident.”
A Nexus spokesman said: “We won’t be making any further comments.”