AN EXPERIENCED railway worker died when he walked out in front of a Cotswold Line train near Charlbury, after telling a co-worker and friend to get lost.

Dennis Williams, 52, returned to work on February 24 after taking a month off to recover from a hernia operation, Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court heard on Wednesday.

The self-employed contractor, of Duffryn View, Rhymney, Gwent, had worked on the railways for 14 years and had been hired as a controller of site safety to oversee the repair of a section of embankment damged by a landslip between Charlbury and Shorthampton.

On February 26, at about 11.38am, the married father of two children had a brief altercation with Anthony Thomas, with whom he was sharing safety responsibilities that day.

Mr Thomas, who had known Mr Williams for about three years, told the court: “He was very abrupt with me.”

The court heard that moments later Mr Williams walked on to the tracks in front of a train from London to Great Malvern, which was accelerating away from Charlbury station at more than 50mph.


In a statement read to the hearing, train driver Kevin Tame said Mr Williams moved his arms above his head, signalling him to stop.

Mr Tame could not halt the train in time, coming to rest 343 metres up the line after hitting Mr Williams.

Oxfordshire Coroner Darren Salter recorded an open verdict, saying it was a “somewhat perplexing” case.

He added: “It seemed he stepped in front of the train in the full knowledge the train was there... (but) I can’t be certain that Dennis Williams intended to take his own life.”