More information about last month’s death on a train of the 28-year-old Penarth trade union activist and charity worker Bethan Roper has come to light today in a new report by the Rail Accident Investigation branch.
The Rail Investigation Branch – which has been examining the circumstances of the incident – has now established that Ms Roper put her head out of the open window of a High Speed Train train as it was travelling at 85 mph
At about 22:04 hours on December 1st , as the GWR HST train reached Twerton – one and a half miles west of Bath Spa Station – Ms Roper’s head came into contact with the branch of a tree – imparting fatal injuries.
Witness have told the investigators that Ms Roper was standing at the exit door on the side facing away from the other track. As in most HST trains – train door was fitted with an “opening droplight window” which is used to access the door handle fitted to the outside of the door. (There’s no inside handle).
The Rail Investigation Branch says that a yellow ‘Caution’ label above the door states “Do not lean out of window when train is moving” – but despite the warning, and despite the speed of the train the window was opened and witnesses said the passenger – Ms Roper – “had her head out of the window”.
The Rail Investigation Branch – which carries out investigations independently of any other enquiry – will now look at the measures that are in place to “control the risks from persons leaning out of train windows” – including the threat from “vegetation”.