A MAN stood in a crucifix pose and watched as a train hurtled towards him at nearly 50mph.
An inquest heard that Christopher Reynolds, 32, died instantly after suffering massive head injuries when he was hit by the train on the stretch of line between Rishton and Church.
Coroner Michael Singleton expressed his sympathy not just to the family of the dead man but also to the train driver who he said would have to live with the memory of what happened.
Anthony Reynolds, of Wellington Court, Accrington, told the inquest his son had suffered from learning difficulties at school and had never been employed.
He was in a relationship which produced two children and when the couple split one of the children came to live with Christopher who he described as a devoted father.
Mr Reynolds said his son had become a bit of a recluse in the months before his death.
Just 10 days before his death he had hired a skip and effectively emptied his home in Queens Road West Accrington.
"I don't know why he did it but he put everything from the house in the skip," said Mr Reynolds. "I didn't know until it had been done, otherwise I would have talked him round."
Mr Reynolds spoke to his son on the day of his death and said there was no sign that anything was wrong.
Geoffrey Cowell told the inquest he had been driving trains for Northern Rail for just three months when the incident happened on 15 May.
He was driving the train from Blackpool to Colne and had started to reduce speed as he approached Church and Oswaldtwistle Station.
Mr Cowell had to manually switch off an automatic alarm and had checked his speed, showing at 48mph, when he looked up and saw a man standing on the track.
He described the man looking at the train and putting his arms out in a crucifix pose before being struck by the left hand corner of the train.
Mr Cowell had applied the emergency brakes but the train did not stop until 200 metres after the point of collision.
"I was shocked and upset, numb and shaking," said Mr Cowell. "I couldn't believe what had happened."
Recording a verdict that Mr Reynolds killed himself, Mr Singleton said one could never be sure what went on in the dark recesses of a person's mind.
He added: "What does seem certain in this case is that the decision had been taken some time before the event. It would appear Mr Reynolds was quite calm and had come to terms with what he saw as his way out. The incident will live with Mr Cowell and I am sure that is something Mr Reynolds did not take into account. I am sure he would have seen the train as some inanimate object and not seen the impact it would have on an individual."
The medical cause of death was given as head injuries.