‘Warn­ing sticker in place near train death win­dow’

South Wales Echo - - News - NEIL LANCEFIELD Agency Re­porter echo.news­[email protected]­line.co.uk

A WOMAN suf­fered fa­tal head in­juries while lean­ing out of a train win­dow be­low a warn­ing sticker, an ac­ci­dent re­port has found.

Bethan Roper, 28, from Pe­narth, died on the Great Western Rail­way train near Tw­er­ton, Bath on De­cem­ber 1.

Her head was lean­ing out of the win­dow of a door when it was struck by a tree branch while the train trav­elled at 85mph.

A pre­lim­i­nary re­port by the Rail Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Branch (RAIB) found that a yel­low “Cau­tion” la­bel above the door read “Do not lean out of win­dow when train is mov­ing”.

The door was fit­ted with an open­ing win­dow to en­able pas­sen­gers to ac­cess the han­dle, which was on the out­side.

Miss Roper was on board the Lon­don Padding­ton to Ex­eter ser­vice while re­turn­ing to Pe­narth from a Christ­mas shop­ping trip with friends.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened at 10.04pm and she was pro­nounced dead at Bris­tol Tem­ple Meads sta­tion shortly af­ter 10.10pm.

Miss Roper worked for the Welsh Refugee Coun­cil char­ity and was chair­man of Young So­cial­ists Cardiff.

She had also worked in Cardiff for Sobey’s Vin­tage Clothes Shop, the Co­pro­duc­tion Net­work for Wales, the Cartrefi Cymru Co-op­er­a­tive, and was a Unite union con­venor.

Her fa­ther, Adrian Roper, 63, re­leased a state­ment af­ter her death say­ing his daugh­ter “en­joyed life to the full while work­ing tire­lessly for a bet­ter world”.

He added: “She was also a much loved sis­ter, daugh­ter, grand­daugh­ter and niece.

“All of us who knew Bethan have been very priv­i­leged. She was beau­ti­ful in ev­ery way.

“Our pain couldn’t be sharper or more jus­ti­fied, but I know that her good­ness and full­ness of spirit will live on in our hearts and ac­tions.”

The RAIB said its full in­ves­ti­ga­tion would ex­am­ine the mea­sures in place to “con­trol the risks from per­sons lean­ing out of train win­dows, in­clud­ing the threat from veg­e­ta­tion”.

In Au­gust 2016, rail­way en­thu­si­ast Si­mon Brown, 24, was killed while lean­ing out of the win­dow of a Gatwick Ex­press train in south Lon­don. His head hit a sig­nal gantry at 61mph.

In its re­port, the RAIB noted that a yel­low warn­ing sticker on the door was in a “clut­tered en­vi­ron­ment” among other in­for­ma­tion signs, and rec­om­mended that train com­pa­nies should do more to stop pas­sen­gers from putting body parts out of win­dows.

In Novem­ber, pub­lic sec­tor com­pany Net­work Rail was asked by rail min­is­ter An­drew Jones to set out a plan for how it will do more to pro­tect bio­di­ver­sity dur­ing tree felling.

This fol­lowed crit­i­cism over the amount of trees be­ing cut down in some ar­eas.

Bethan Roper

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