Thursday, October 7, 1999 Published at 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Town fears 50 dead as cars unclaimed
Unclaimed cars in a Reading car park tell a grim story
The commuter town of Reading is reeling from the devastating impact the Paddington rail crash has had on its community.
Police say 22 cars have been left in the station car park since Tuesday and their details are being checked against a list of missing people who may have been on the ill-fated service to Paddington.
One of those missing, presumed dead, is the driver of the London to Bedwyn train, which reportedly went through a red signal shortly before the crash.
Michael Hodder, 31, lived in Tilehurst, on the outskirts of Reading, with his wife and two young sons.
Every morning hundreds of commuters leave the Reading area for the capital - 50 who usually boarded the Great Western train involved are now feared dead.
A bunch of flowers left at Reading station door bore the simple message: "Come home Daddy. I love you, Claire." It was one of many tributes to those who perished.
A schoolgirl on her way to classes said everybody seemed to know someone who had been affected by the disaster.
"It is really sad that so many people who should not have been on the train caught it."
The Rt Rev Dominic Walker, Bishop of Reading told BBC Breakfast News: "It looks as if at least 50 people from the Reading area will have died.
Jane Griffiths, MP for Reading East described the crash as "one of the greatest tragedies Reading had ever seen".
She said: "There is nothing I can say to comfort the families who have lost loved ones or whose loved ones are still unaccounted for."
Similar books were opened in Swindon and other towns lining the express train's route.
Thames Valley Police spokesman Richard Goodfellow said: "We are checking a large number of cars which have not yet been claimed.
In total there are 127 people unaccounted for. Emergency services have removed 30 bodies from the wreckage - just 14 have been identified.
A drop-in centre has been set up in Reading town hall to help relatives of those involved with the disaster.
Maurice Emberson, head of Reading social services said: "We will be offering an ongoing service to people who may require our help in the future. We will help them, listen to them and support them in whatever way we can at this difficult time."
Church ministers across the Thames Valley have also been asked to help counsel families of those killed in the disaster.