Nicholas Howells, 20, passed away on Wednesday 25 May. Photo: Facebook

A Sussex student died last week after falling onto a live rail line at Falmer Station. The first-year business student Nicholas Howells, 20, was reportedly on his way home from a party on the University of Sussex campus on Wednesday 25 May.

A CCTV operator in Croydon saw the fall and immediately turned the electricity off before Nicholas’ friend attempted to rescue him from the railway line. He alerted emergency services  at 3.55am, and they arrived at Falmer station just after 4am.

The victim had severe burn injuries on his body and was pronounced dead on the scene by paramedics. The lines were handed back to Network Rail at 4.11am.

Unofficial reports suggest the two men had walked on the platform rather than on the bridge across the tracks.

Mr Howells’ family who live in Reading, said: “Nicholas was a fantastic son, brother and friend to many. He was deeply loved by those that knew him.

“He was an avid rugby player and was enjoying his time studying International business studies at Sussex university.”

The University of Sussex announced that their staff and students were “shocked and saddened” to learn of the student’s death, adding that “our thoughts are with Nicholas’ family and his friends.”

It has been confirmed the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Michael Farthing, is writing a letter of condolence to Nicholas’ family.

The British Transport Police is handling the investigation, while students and staff affected by this event are receiving support from the university services on campus.

Inspector Gary Ancell, based at Brighton British Transport Police station on Queen’s Road said: “At this stage this appears to have been a tragic accident which has seen a young man lose his life after coming into contact with the live rail.

“This is a sad reminder of the need to take care when near railway lines.”

If you would like to talk to somebody about this, please contact the Student Life Centre in Chichester 1 on 01273 876767 or email

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