Terror as yobs stone train

Reporter:

Rebecca Cole

A DRIVER had a lucky escape after a stone was thrown at his train shattering the windscreen.

British Transport Police have revealed details of the terrifying incident which Sergeant Karl Anderson believes could have cost the driver his life.

The busy 5pm service from Birmingham to Holyhead was full of commuters when it was targeted by yobs who pelted the train with stones as it passed through the Overbridge section where the line crosses Ruthin Road, Wrexham.

The outer pane of the windscreen was destroyed but the driver was spared injury as the inner pane withstood the impact.

Sgt Anderson said: “Stone throwing is potentially fatal, even a small stone dropped from a bridge and meeting a train travelling at 100mph can kill.

“The driver could have been very badly hurt if both panes of glass had broken, but thankfully the inner pane remained in tact.

“This would have been a very busy commuter train and the incident could have caused massive delays and cancellation but luckily the service was able to reach Holyhead before the train was taken out of commission for repairs.

“It’s a very frightening thing for staff and passengers and is potentially very, very dangerous.”

He revealed incidents of this nature can force drivers to finish their shift early due to the trauma and can put a train out of action for days.

The news comes after British Transport Police officers stepped up patrols in the Wrexham area following a spate of incidents in July in which individuals crossed onto lines, threw stones at trains and put things on the tracks near the town and in Ruabon.

Sgt Anderson revealed it can take something as small as gravel on the line to cause a serious accident.

“People need to realise the very serious consequences of their actions, if the driver is hurt, anything could happen.

“Cases which endanger railway safety such as obstructing the line or throwing things at trains can be treated with sentences of up to life imprisonment.”

Cllr Phil Wynn is concerned to hear that such behaviour was happening in his ward, Brynyffynnon.

He said: “This is obviously a huge safety issue and I very much hope it is just a one-off which will not happen again.”

Sergeant Anderson is of the same mind and believes the August incident was an anomaly in what has been a very quiet month and is confident the situation is improving.

He added: “Things have been going very well over the last month or so thanks to a great partnership with North Wales Police.

“Hopefully people will continue to think twice about the consequences of their actions.”

Anyone with information on the Wrexham incident can call BTP on 0800 40 50 40 quoting log reference 543 of August 11.

See full story in the Leader

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