A man killed after leaning out the window of the Gatwick Express was a “railway fanatic” who had just landed a job as a train engineer.
Simon Brown, from East Grinstead, in Sussex, was killed when his head was struck by a train near Wandsworth Common station, in south London, on Sunday.
The 24-year-old had recently secured a job as an engineering technician with Hitachi overseeing the introduction of new electric trains on the Great Western mainline, his family have said.
His father, Mike Brown, told the Evening Standard that his son was “into trains” from an early age, and at age nine volunteered with the Bluebell (heritage) Railway in West Sussex.
“He worked on a Great Northern restoration project and left school at 18 to start an apprenticeship with Southern Trains. He’d only got the job with Hitachi a couple of months ago and had moved to Stoke Gifford (near Bristol) to be with his girlfriend.”
Brown’s girlfriend Missy Wilson, a student education leader at the University of the West of England, was pictured with Brown last month at her graduation ceremony.
In a joint tribute with Brown’s family, she said: “Simon was a warm, loving individual whose unbounded passion and enthusiasm for life and all things related to trains of any kind – from model railways through steam to modern day rail transport infected everyone he met.
“He will be sorely missed not only by his partner, his family and his friends but also by his many colleagues throughout the rail industry.”
A funding page has been set up by Brown’s childhood friend, Reuben Smith - who works as a rail conductor - to help pay for Brown’s funeral and raise money for a memorial train at Bluebell. Over £1,800 had been raised by Tuesday afternoon.
Smith wrote on the page: “Simon was a great friend of ours and a real light in the railway world. He was always smiling cheerful and would bend over backwards to help anyone. There’s now a massive hole in our close knit community where he was.
“He has been taken from us at the age of 24 it’s far too young.
"Please donate. I want to have this memorial train in his coach that he spent hours on and I want to help ease the burden of the cost of the funeral for his parents having had to bury my younger brother 11 months ago I know how hard it is.”
Meanwhile, MailOnline reported Tuesday that Brown had been tagged in a Facebook video showing a man hanging out of the window of a 37255 locomotive on the Great Central Railway.
The post, which was five years old, was accompanied by the caption: “Toby and Simon behind 37255”. The website set it has not confirmed if the person in the image was Brown.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch is investigating Brown’s accident as is the British Transport Police who said “initial enquiries suggest the man may have been leaning out of a train door window when he suffered a blow to the head”.