AN INVESTIGATION into the death of two workers who were struck by a train has revealed a long-term failure by Network Rail to improve track safety.

Gareth Delbridge, 64, and Michael Lewis, 58, were hit by a Swansea to Paddington train on July 3.

They were part of a group of six carrying out maintenance work at Margam, Port Talbot.

A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said an underlying factor in the deaths was Network Rail's "long-term failure to improve the safety of people working on the railway".

Adding: "Over a period of many years, Network Rail had not adequately addressed the protection of track workers from moving trains.

"The major changes required to fully implement significant changes to the standard governing track worker safety were not effectively implemented across Network Rail's maintenance organisation."

Responding to the RAIB report, the Office of Rail and Road HM Chief Inspector of Railways, Ian Prosser CBE said: “Our thoughts continue to be with the families and friends of Gareth Delbridge and Michael Lewis, who were struck and killed by a train at Margam in July last year.

“Track worker safety is paramount and in the 18 months prior to the incident at Margam we undertook additional inspections following our growing concerns that Network Rail was not doing enough to control risks to track workers.

“These inspections had resulted in formal enforcement action being taken. Network Rail responded by forming a significant task force to bring about much needed improvements.

“Our investigation into this tragic incident continues, however the recommendations in this report are welcomed.”