Tributes paid to railway workers killed by passenger train

Two railway workers have died after being struck by a train on railway tracks in south Wales.

British Transport Police (BTP) said officers were called to the scene, between Bridgend and Port Talbot, shortly before 10am on Wednesday. A third person was treated for shock at the scene, but was not injured, BTP said.

Port Talbot rail accident
Photo: Adam Hale/PA Wire

Tributes have been paid to two rail workers who died after being struck by the train. Gareth Delbridge, 64, from Kenfig Hill, and another man, Michael “Spike” Lewis, a 58-year-old man from North Cornelly, were hit by the Swansea to Paddington train near Margam on Wednesday.

Kenfig Hill Rugby Club offered their “deepest sympathies” to Mr Delbridge, who was a long-standing member of the club, and his family “at this desperately sad time”.

The family of railway worker Michael “Spike’ Lewis” who died after being struck by a train in Port Talbot on Wednesday have paid tribute to him.

In a statement issued by British Transport Police, they said: “He was known by everyone, and loved by everyone.

“We would like to thank everyone so much for their support during this difficult time and ask that we are now given the space we need to grieve.”

The train has now been moved and the line reopened just before 21:00 on Wednesday evening but GWR say replacement bus services will continue to operate to supplement trains between Swansea and Cardiff Central stations.

“Following a person being hit by a train earlier between Cardiff Central and Swansea all lines have now reopened,” the GWR website said.

BTP Superintendent Andy Morgan said: “We are making a number of urgent enquiries to understand exactly what happened in the moments leading to this fatal collision.

“Very sadly two people have died and my officers are now working to identify them and ensure that their families are supported at this incredibly difficult time.”

The scene on a section of track near Port Talbot after two railway workers died after being struck by a train. Photo: Adam Hale / PA Wire

Ongoing issue

The tragedy happened just three months after the Rail Accident Investigation Branch warned there were “too many near misses in which railway workers have had to jump for their lives”.

In 2018 there was one death on the mainline railway and 6,641 injuries, of which 164 were major.

In a statement, British Transport Police said: “Shortly before 10am today, officers from British Transport Police were called to the railway close to Port Talbot in south Wales, following a report of a train striking persons on the tracks.

“Paramedics from the Welsh Ambulance Service are also on scene, very sadly two persons have been pronounced dead at the scene.”

Superintendent Andy Morgan said: “We are making a number of urgent enquiries to understand exactly what happened in the moments leading to this fatal collision.

Map of Port Talbot

“Very sadly two people have died and my officers are now working to identify them and ensure that their families are supported at this incredibly difficult time.”

Transport Secretary Ken Skates has tweeted: “Deeply shocked by the news about the tragic incident involving railway workers near Margam this morning, and my thoughts are with the families of those involved.”

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader, spoke at Prime Minister’s Questions saying: “I’m sure the whole house will want to express their condolences to the families of those rail workers who were hit and killed by a train this morning in Port Talbot.

“There will obviously have to be a full investigation into this, but our thoughts must be with the families and friends of those who were killed and injured.”

Aberavon MP, Stephen Kinnock tweeted: “I’m very concerned to see reports of the tragic accident on the rail line between Bridgend and Port Talbot… This is awful news, and my thoughts are with the families of all concerned.”

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