Young socialist killed leaning out of train window

A girl wearing a hat.
Bethan Roper. Photo credit: Facebook/Bethan Roper

A young socialist died after she hit a tree branch while hanging out of the window of a train in England.

Bethan Roper, 28, died while aboard a Great Western Railway (GWR) service travelling a120km/h an hour in the city of Bath, the BBC reports.

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

Her father said in a statement after her death she "enjoyed life to the full whilst working tirelessly for a better world".

The Bethan Roper Trust for Refugees has been set up in her memory.

Roper died on December 1, 2018. Witnesses said she leaned out of the window for a few seconds before falling back into the vestibule.

Passengers tried to give her medical assistance, but she was pronounced dead at Bristol station.

An investigation after Roper's death found important safety improvements that were supposed to have been made on GWR trains had not been done.

The window Roper leaned out of had a yellow label that suggested caution, which an earlier risk assessment from GWR found should have been replaced. This was supposed to be done by May 2018 but was not completed by the time of the accident.

The investigation into Roper's death found the sign failed to accurately convey the level of risk if a passenger were to lean out of the window.

It was smaller than other signs, and red would have been a more appropriate colour than yellow, the investigation found.

GWR told investigators plans to replace the signs had been delayed by staff members leaving and the failure of a system that tracked work.

The investigation also found the vegetation on the side of the track where Roper was hit was poorly maintained and the area had not been inspected since 2009.

The tree that had the branch that hit her was found to have been in poor health.