A WORKSOP railway worker texted his partner “I love you” as began his night shift - and was found collapsed on the tracks less than an hour later.
Andrew Woods, of Elms Close, sent the message to partner Vicky Wass when he was carrying out maintenance work on the line at Kiveton Park on the evening of 23rd October last year, an inquest at Rotherham Magistrates’ heard.
He was found by close friend and colleague Fergal Keating who gave him CPR for half an hour while waiting for ambulance crews to arrive.
“I had only spoken to him an hour before and he seemed in really good spirit. He had been away with Vicky and was the happiest I’d seen him for a long time,” he said.
“His death has been such a shock to us. He was a joy to work with and one of the nicest people you could hope to meet. I feel privileged to be able to call him my friend.”
The court heard Mr Woods had enjoyed a stay in Edinburgh with Vicky that week, despite complaints of feeling extremely tired.
Deputy Coroner Fred Curtis read out a statement from Mrs Wass which said: “He appeared to be out of breath and kept stopping to look in shop windows which was unlike him.”
“He also took the long way back to the hotel to avoid walking up a steep hill.”
After the couple returned home on Saturday Mr Woods left that evening for his work as a possessions assistant during maintenance work of the line between Worksop and Kiveton Park.
Mr Keating, who saw Mr Woods around 11.15pm, said he tried to call him after work had finished after midnight, but grew increasingly concerned when he received no response.
“He was a good worker and when he didn’t answer my call or texts I knew something wasn’t right,” he said.
“We found him in the walkway next to the track. He hadn’t been knocked over by a train - he had just fallen.”
Mr Woods was taken to Rotherham General Hospital but later passed away in the early hours of Sunday 24th October.
Pathology reports showed he died from irregular heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia) and ruled out any traces of alcohol or drugs in his body.
Consultant pathologist Dr Ali Hussein said: “His heart was unusally enlarged and his lungs were heavy and congested.”
Deputy coroner Fred Curtis returned a verdict of deatth by natural causes.
He said: “I extend my sympathies to his family, particularly to Mrs Wass - this was totally unexpected after clearly a very happy week together.”