Two men who were killed when they touched overhead powerlines while on top of a London freight train may have been ‘train surfing’.
The bodies of a 25-year-old man from Aberystwyth, Wales, and a 27-year-old from Clerkenwell, London, were found on tracks between Hackney and Stratford in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Police have found ‘nothing to indicate’ that the deaths are linked to graffiti.
One was discovered at 1am on the tracks near Wallis Road, Hackney Wick, while the other was discovered at 2.30am on the line near Carpenters Road, Stratford.
Police were called to the line just after 1am to find a man in his 20s dead on the tracks. The second man was also found dead at 2.31am. Pictured: Flames and smoke near the tracks last night
They have been identified as a 25-year-old from Aberystwyth, Wales, and a 27-year-old from Clerkenwell, London
A spokesman for British Transport Police said they died after ‘sustaining serious electrical burns’.
‘Their families have each been informed and are now being supported by specially trained family liaison officers.’
Detective Sergeant David Taylor, also from the BTP, said: ‘Our thoughts are with both families as they come to terms with this devastating news, we will of course provide them with as much support as possible.
‘The initial evidence that we’ve been able to gather suggests that both men were on top of a moving freight train wagon, when they came into contact with the over-head power lines.
‘Our investigation will continue to examine how and why they came to be on top of this train although there is nothing to indicate that graffiti was involved.’
Police have found nothing to indicate that the deaths are linked to graffiti. Their bodies were found on the rail line between Hackney Wick and Stratford
An undated photo of Hackney Wick station, near where the two victims were found dead last night
Yesterday police said: ‘We are looking into the possibility that the victims were train surfers or graffiti artists – we are not ruling out either at this stage of the investigation.’
Police were also previously investigating whether the pair were graffiti artists.
A spokesman would ‘not speculate’ on train surfers being more likely because of the overhead power lines, but said that both deaths were being linked.
Novelist Joseph Allchin, 35, has a flat looking over the track.
He told The Standard: ‘I heard a loud explosion and went to the window and saw a fire on the tracks next to a stationary freight train. I thought it was fireworks at first.
A BTP spokeswoman said: ‘At approximately 1am in the morning on March 21, BTP were called to the line between Hackney Wick and Stratford.’ Pictured: Stratford Station
It is not known why the two Stratford victims were on the tracks. Last year, three graffiti artists were hit by a train near Loughborough Station in south London. They were, left to right: Jack Gilbert, 23, Alberto Fresneda Carrasco, 19 and Harrison Scott-Hood, 23
‘I was concerned because of the freight train. It had a large white canister, so I was worried it would blow up.
‘The fire was igniting underneath the train. I thought someone had thrown something burning onto the tracks.’
The highway that runs underneath the bridge that links the shopping centre to the park was littered with orange traffic cones and barriers and appeared to be under construction.
It appears the new road is linked to a new housing development being built between Westfields and West Ham’s London Stadium.
The railway lines were on the side nearest to Westfield Shopping Centre.
There was no longer a police presence at Carpenters Road by 1pm today and workmen at the construction site nearby appeared unaffected.
Pedestrians also walked across the bridge unconcerned and did not seem to be aware anything had taken place overnight.
Police are examining if the two victims could have been graffiti artists. Pictured is graffiti in Statford near to where the incident happened
Graffiti outside The London Olympic Park when it was under construction for the 2012 Olympic Games
No sign of a forensic tent or officers were visible from the bridge.
A spokeman for British Transport Police (BTP) said: ‘One of the victims is a male in his 20s, we cannot confirm which one at this time.
‘The train tracks between Stratford and Hackney Wick are served by an overhead power line which is electrified.
‘We are looking into the possibility that the victims were train surfers or graffiti artists – we are not ruling out either at this stage of the investigation.
‘At the moment we are looking for any witnesses who could help us with our enquiries.’
The incident initially caused closures and disruption on the London Overground and Greater Anglia services but this has now been cleared.
Last year, three graffiti artists were killed by a train when they walked down tracks near Loughborough Station in south London.
The families of Alberto Fresneda Carrasco, 19, and 23-year-olds Jack Gilbert and Harrison Scott-Hood gave a joint statement saying ‘a love of painting’ was the only thing they were guilty of.
Detective Chief Inspector Tim Tubbs said: ‘An investigation is now underway to discover what happened and how these two people came to lose their lives on the railway.
‘At this time we are treating their deaths as unexplained as we make a number of urgent enquiries.
‘I would ask anyone who was near Stratford or Hackney Wick last night, and saw something which they think might be relevant to contact us as soon as possible.’
Information can be passed to BTP by sending a text to 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 23 of 21/03/19.