Tuesday 13 Apr 2004

VANDALS ATTEMPT TO DERAIL TRAIN

Region & Route:
Network Rail is appealing to local residents in the Overpool area to come forward with information following a three-day spate of life-threatening vandalism over the Easter holiday. At different times on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a group of five youths were seen to push copingstones off the top of the bridge parapet on Overpool Road outside the station on to the railway tracks below. On Saturday the driver of the 1434 from Ellesmere Port actually hit one of the stones but fortunately the impact knocked it clear of the line and the train sustained only minor damage. On the Monday, one train driver stopped to remove more coping stones from the tracks and then came under fire from the youths who threw stones at him from the bridge above before riding away on bikes. In an attempt to stop the activity, Network Rail contractors removed the remaining coping stones from the vandalised side of the bridge, but that didn’t stop the youths who started taking them from the other side of the bridge. The problem is so bad that Network Rail is prepared to offer a reward of £1,000 for information that leads to the successful identification and prosecution of those responsible. - more - Overpool – 2             Network Rail spokesman Keith Lumley said: “We need to catch these vandals. They are pushing heavy copingstones that normally finish off the top of a wall, from the bridge on to the railway tracks below in a deliberate attempt to derail a train. If that was to happen it is not beyond the realms of possibility that somebody could be seriously injured or even killed.             “We have got to stop this kind of activity and those responsible need to realise they face anything up to and including life imprisonment for what they are doing.”             Anyone with information is urged to contact either the British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or Crimestoppers on 08457 555111. Both calls are free and information given to Crimestoppers can be left anonymously.

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