THE families of two railway workers killed by what has been called “Swindon’s disease” are suing the government for redress.
Alan Neale and his brother Raymond both worked in the Great Western Railways repair shop in the 1950s, then died decades later from asbestos-related health problems.
In 2008, former French polisher Raymond died at 76 from mesothelioma – a lung cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibers – and railroad car painter Alan, 87, died. died in January of this year from an incurable chronic lung disease called asbestosis.
Alan’s wife Pamela turned to Novum Law attorneys for help and Raymond’s son Danny Neale remembers how often siblings mentioned the clumps of thick asbestos dust that covered the workshops.
Danny said: “They described how during breaks from work they and their colleagues rolled asbestos into balls and played football or cricket with them, depending on the season.
“They had no idea that decades later their exposure to the white matter that blew around railroad works ‘like snow’ would eventually lead to their deaths.
“My family and I want to educate the public about the link between working on the railways and asbestos disease.
“A lot of people don’t realize that you can be diagnosed with asbestos disease many years after being exposed for the first time – in my uncle Alan’s case, it took over 60 years before he was exposed. does not get seriously ill.
“The two brothers only worked in repair shops for a few years, so you don’t have to be exposed your entire working life to be affected by asbestos disease.
More than 35 years after the GWR repair shops closed, families in Swindon are still feeling the side effects of working in such hazardous conditions.
The railway cars were lined with asbestos and their roofs were covered with an asbestos coating.
Novum Law is a firm based near Greenbridge Retail Park with lawyers who deal specifically with cases related to workers who later die from asbestos diseases.
Alan Joliffe supports the Neale family, who hope to obtain justice for him and receive compensation for his untimely death.
He said: “This is a particularly unfortunate case.
“Killing a family member as a result of asbestos exposure is bad enough, but for two brothers to be stricken with deadly diseases caused by contact with asbestos as they go about their daily work in the Swindon Railroad is a horrible situation for any family.
“The use of asbestos in the rail industry was widespread between the 1950s and 1980s, and unfortunately for Swindon, the devastating impact is still being felt and will continue to be felt for many years to come.
“The risk of asbestos disease is not limited to railway repair shops.
“Many trades associated with the rail industry will be affected – welders, carpenters, lagers, boilermakers, engineers and painters, to name a few.
“These are decent, hard-working people who have been exposed to a lethal substance simply by going about their daily lives, without receiving the proper protection or the safety advice they needed.”
The brothers were exposed to asbestos during their working days because the railway cars were covered with asbestos and the roofs of the cars were covered with an asbestos coating.
GWR could not comment on the situation as it did not exist in its current form at the time of the asbestos problem and the affair related to the former British Railways Western Group.
The Department of Transport inherited all responsibility from this group and was unable to comment on specific cases.
A DfT spokesperson added: “Our hearts go out to all concerned and we continue to work with their families to ensure that, where there is liability, claimants are compensated fairly and without undue delay. ”