So you're saying the driver was already dead when the fireman went off to make them both a cup of tea?
Sort of an observant fella that fireman then. Not much chance of him seeing the signals if he hasn't noticed a corpse at the tiller.
Alternatively, if the driver died while the fireman was out of the cab, then that goes back to my first statement that the driver should have directed the fireman not to leave the cab at that point and to wait a few minutes as the crossing was approaching.
That is exactly what I'm saying.
More from the Report of the Board of Enquiry:-
10.6 The Vigilance Control System functioned correctly during the trip. It was effective in that it obtained Fireman Coulthard's acknowledgement of it, particularly in the critical period before the collision. However, Fireman Coulthard failed before acknowledgement to properly check that Driver Bowden was alert. He had done so and taken emergency action to stop the train when he saw the condition of Driver Bowden, the accident would not have occurred.
10.7 The Southern Aurora . . . passed three signals at 71 mph . . .
The three signals and the indications they were displaying are:
AUTOMATIC SIGNAL No. ES 5774 - located 3 miles, 74 chains before collision. It was displaying a Normal Speed Warning indication authorising the the Driver to pass, prepared to stop at the next signal.
"UP" HOME ARRIVAL SIGNAL No. 27/8 - located 1 mile 48 chains from the point of collision was displaying a Low Speed Caution indication authorising the Driver to pass but to travel at a speed which would enable him to stop short of any obstruction.
"UP" HOME DEPARTURE SIGNAL No. 27/4 - located 78 chains from the collision point was displaying a Stop indication.
DRIVER J. BOWDEN died of a coronary occlusion with cardiac arrest prior to the collision. It is probable that he was either dead or incapacitated due to the heart attack about two miles on the 'down' side of Automatic Signal No. ES 5774, or six miles from the point of collision."
Prior to this particular section of the Report, there is a considerable amount of reporting on the questioning and answering of Fireman Coulthard - far too voluminous for me to try and write here. It leaves no doubt that he failed completely in every aspect of his duty, and could have prevented the collision.
As I have already written here, I have the entire Report, and Appendix thereto, scanned in pdf format which is easily transmissible by e mail.