Commuters in near-miss train terror

A TRAIN full of people heading for Ipswich came moments from disaster when it ploughed into a concrete barricade placed on the track by vandals.

Neil Puffett

A TRAIN full of people heading for Ipswich came moments from disaster when it ploughed into a concrete barricade placed on the track by vandals.

In an incident that risked leaving scores injured, a National Express service from Cambridge to Ipswich smashed into the objects near Bury St Edmunds station.

The train careered into the makeshift barricade at about 6.30pm on Tuesday, lifting off the track as it struck the concrete slabs and wooden logs.


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Police have described the incident as a lucky escape, warning the two-carriage train, carrying up to 100 people, could easily have left the track.

Sergeant Anne Granger, British Transport Police's officer in charge at Ipswich said that the consequences could have been much worse.

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She said: “The driver of the train has told us that as he went over the debris the train lifted slightly and I would say that it is very lucky that we weren't looking at a derailment.

“Obstructing the railway is a very serious matter.

“Placing any objects on the line not only put those who commit an offence in danger but also the passengers and rail staff on the train.”

The train was met by police at Ipswich station.

Police have examined the scene of the accident, at the Newmarket Road bridge, near Junction 42 of the A14, for clues.

It is thought the vandals got on to the track at ground level rather than throwing the slabs and logs from the road above.

A spokeswoman for National Express East Anglia said nobody was injured in the incident.

She said: “The driver spotted it immediately, got out to check for any damage and reported it immediately.

“There was no damage visible so he carried on the journey.

“This was a stupid act of vandalism.”

It is not clear how fast the train was travelling at the time.

The incident is the latest in a series of problems on the region's railways in recent weeks.

Services were hit on Tuesday when railway cabling was stolen near Ely.

Meanwhile there was widespread disruption last week on the Line between London Liverpool Street and Ipswich when damage was caused to a long-stretch of cabling near Chelmsford.

Police are appealing for anyone who may have information on the latest incident to contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40.

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