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Diamond in the rough

Passenger Eileen Lawrence has shared her story of heartache and relief when her diamond wedding ring, which had fallen onto the track a day earlier, was found by Network Rail staff.

When the ring slipped from Eileen’s hand and bounced over the platform edge and into the darkness at Bloxwich North station one November morning, she thought it was gone for good.

Upon arriving at Birmingham New Street station, she reported her mishap to staff and the hunt to find it began.

Unfortunately, efforts on the day proved unsuccessful. It was only when Network Rail’s track section manager for Walsall, Phil Heeley, was alerted the next day, that he was able to get his track technicians Adrian Callaghan and Matt Hayes to meet Eileen exactly where she had last seen her precious ring.

“In all my 40 years’ service I have never had a request like this one,” said Phil. “I told Matt he would have to stop the movement of trains with a ‘line block’ before going on to the track, and if the wedding ring wasn’t visible he’d have to move the ballast stone by stone. I even considered trying to get a metal detector if that didn’t work.

“But almost as soon as Matt and Ade went down onto the track, luckily the wedding ring was sat there, pointing up towards the sky.”

Eileen added: “I felt completely overwhelmed when my ring was finally found. When you hear about Network Rail in the news it’s often negative, so I really wanted to share my story about the lengths its staff went to reunite me with my wedding ring.”

It was only after the ring was safely back on Eileen’s finger that she plucked up the courage to tell her husband of 31 years about its unexpected overnight stay on the tracks.

Read more: Budding engineers take to the sky



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