TRIBUTES have been paid to a train driver who died after suffering a suspected heart attack in his cab as the service pulled into Barking station.
Father-of-two Steve Jones, 56, based at East Ham, had been driving the 8.13pm c2c service from Grays to Barking when he fell ill at around 8.30pm last night reports the Standard.
According to the company, Mr Jones’ train had been travelling at around 6mph on its approach towards the station when his foot came off a safety pedal, bringing the vehicle to a halt within seconds.
After Mr Jones fell ill, trains in the area were halted immediately while a signaller tried to contact Mr Jones.
When he failed to respond, the driver of another train going in the opposite direction stopped to help out and an ambulance was called, along with British Transport Police.
Paramedics from the London Ambulance Service and the Air Ambulance battled to save the driver’s life but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Today, colleagues paid tribute to Mr Jones, who had worked on the railways for around 40 years and had been a driver since 1980.
Mark Daniels, a fellow driver and rep for the Aslef union, said: "It is with a heavy heart that today we say goodbye to one of our own at the young age of 56. Steve Jones was one of the proud railwaymen to start under British Rail.
"Steve was always willing to tell many stories – some believable and maybe some tall tales.
"However he was a great work colleague who will be missed. He will be a character lost from the mess room, but he will be most missed by his family including his two children. RIP Jonesy."
And c2c delivery director Kevin Frazer said: "The thoughts of all of Steve’s colleagues and friends at c2c are with his family at this difficult time.
"Thank you to all our passengers for their understanding last night while we helped support the ambulance service and British Transport Police in their efforts."
A spokesman for c2c said the company’s safety precuations had worked well and passengers were never in danger.
He said: "Every c2c train is designed with a safety system to manage these specific situations, and last night it operated exactly as intended. The trains was brought to a controlled stop within seconds and there was absolutely no danger to passengers at any stage."