Paddington Train Disaster: The Drivers

Man at controls qualified two months ago
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The Independent Online

THE DRIVER of the Thames Trains turbo - who, it is alleged, caused the crash - was a newly qualified employee who had completed his training just two months ago.

THE DRIVER of the Thames Trains turbo - who, it is alleged, caused the crash - was a newly qualified employee who had completed his training just two months ago.

Michael Hodder, the son of a train driver, died when his train ploughed into the First Great Western Intercity minutes after leaving Paddington station, bound for Wiltshire.

Also killed was the driver of the express train, named on cards attached to bouquets laid at the scene as "Brian".

Thirty-one-year-old Mr Hodder, who had two children, is thought to have failed to stop his train when confronted by a red light seconds before the two trains collided.

Both train companies refused yesterday to comment on the identity or experience of their drivers, but neighbours of the Hodders in Tilehurst, Reading, confirmed that Mr Hodder had only just finished training to be a train driver.

Friends and colleagues of Mr Hodder's wife, Kerry - who is now left to bring up their sons, Ben, seven, and Callum, four - spoke of their dismay.

"The news is only just beginning to sink in. We are all shocked and very shaken," said the manager of the dental surgery in Reading where Mrs Hodder works.

At the site of the accident, several bouquets were laid in memory of the First Great Western driver. Signed by "Gerald and Maureen", a note attached to one read: "Today is the saddest day of my life when my brother was taken away from us. My only wish is he never suffered. We had many good times together. These will stay with me for ever and always. Brian was always keen and smart for duty... It will be hard not to look out for Brian going by on his trains."

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