Passers by avert Wrexham rail catastrophe

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

MINDLESS yobs left a concrete fence post and a boulder on a busy railway line near Wrexham.

British Transport Police officers say if had not been for quick-thinking passers by who raised the alarm, the consequences could have been catastrophic as a train passes that point every half hour.

The incident took place between Pentrebychan and Johnstown, close to a footbridge over the main Wrexham to Shrewsbury line, on Sunday.

The debris was spotted just after 9am by two members of the public walking in the area.

Sgt Karl Anderson, of British Transport Police (BTP), said: “Fortunately in this instance two people who often walk in the area noticed the items on the track and alerted officers, and the obstruction was removed from the line before a train passed through.

“However, had they not been out walking and the obstruction gone unnoticed, the consequences could have been catastrophic.”

BTP have now stepped up patrols in the area and are warning children to stay away from railway lines.

Sgt Anderson added: “With the onset of warmer weather and lighter nights, Easter is a time when, traditionally, incidents of trespassing, stone throwing and vandalism increase. Messing around near railways is dicing with death.

“Trespassers put themselves, rail staff and passengers in danger. Vandalising  equipment and obstructing trains puts lives at risk, while stone throwing is potentially fatal.”

“We will do everything in our power to prosecute anyone caught deliberately obstructing the railway or trespassing on the tracks and endangering people’s safety, with the maximum penalty being life imprisonment.”

The warning was underlined by Mark Pritchard, vice-chairman of Esclusham Community Council which covers the area of track where the debris was found.

He said: “I would urge children to stay well away from railway tracks. This incident was malicious and sheer madness.

“If the BTP are fortunate enough to catch whoever is responsible they should be jailed because that is a very busy line and lives could have been lost as a result.”

Anyone with information about Sunday’s incident, or any other crime on the railway, should contact BTP on freefone 0800 40 50 40, quoting incident reference 142 of 17/04/2011, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

See full story in the Leader

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