Police desperate to find families of people who died on railway dating back 33 years

Two railway victims from 1991 and 2004  (British Transport Police)
Two railway victims from 1991 and 2004 (British Transport Police)

A nationwide appeal has been launched to identify people who died on the railways decades ago so their families can finally lay their cases to rest.

British Transport Police released artist impressions of four of the victims dating back as far as 1991.

In total, 12 investigations have been reopened into deaths at stations including Manor Park, Mile End, South Kenton, Hornsey and Oakleigh Park, all in London, Hitchin in Hertfordshire, Canterbury in Kent, and Hassocks in West Sussex.

Officers hope someone may have information which could help Operation Abaka give closure to potential grieving relatives and friends.

Of four victims whose images were released on Monday, a white male aged about 30-years-old deliberately stood in the path of the train at Leyton Midland Station, Waltham Forest on November 8, 2004.

Another white man, aged 19 to 25, was found hanged from a tree on a railway embankment 100 yards south of the Ouse Valley Viaduct, between Balcombe and Haywards Heath on July 26, 1991.

His body is buried at St Peter’s Church, Ardingly, West Sussex.

A black male, aged approximately 65, died of hypothermia between Southend East and Southend Central stations, Essex on November 15, 2000.

Railway victims from 2000, left, and 1998 (British Transport Police)
Railway victims from 2000, left, and 1998 (British Transport Police)

A white man, in his late 20s but possibly 43 to 53, was discovered badly burned and electrocuted at Erith station, Bexley on December 15, 1998.

He had Chubb and Yale keys on a fob with a bear and coins. A blue biro pen was found in his left breast pocket and he wore a Casio watch.

Detective Chief Inspector Sam Blackburn said: “It is always a tragedy when anyone dies alone, and in unfamiliar and dangerous circumstances, and even more so when they have no apparent family or friends who are aware of their whereabouts - or indeed that they have died.

“There was nothing suspicious in any of these deaths but, despite significant enquiries at the time, their identities remain unconfirmed.

“We really hope by sharing these artist impressions, we can identify families and friends and give someone somewhere who is grieving the much-needed closure that they deserve.”

BTP is working closely with the UK Missing Persons Unit, other police forces and agencies utilising advanced forensic procedures and the sharing of police databases - both national and international.

Anyone with any information that may assist, the unsolved deaths is urged to contact BTP.