BRITISH Transport Police (BTP) officers are appealing for information after a train struck a luggage trolley thrown onto the railway tracks near Gatwick Airport in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday, 4 April)
An investigation has been launched after the driver of the 3.02am Victoria to Three Bridges service reported hitting an object as he passed through the area.
Police believe the luggage trolley was thrown from a footbridge approximately 550 metres from Gatwick Airport station.
Detective Sergeant Bob Stokoe, the investigating officer, is asking anyone with information about the incident to get in touch.
“We are currently carrying out local enquiries, including identifying forensic opportunities and speaking with witnesses. We have also requested CCTV from the station and local area,” he said.
“I cannot over-emphasise enough the dangers associated with this type of crime, it is vital that we find those responsible.”
The impact did not damage the train but slightly damaged the rails and caused disruption to Gatwick Express and Brighton-bound mainline services.
DS Stokoe continued: “Thankfully this time, through luck, no-one was injured and no trains were damaged, but we may not be so fortunate if this happens again. Trains travel at high speeds and there is a very real risk when they strike objects on the track that they could be derailed.
“The obstruction damaged the tracks and resulted in delays to train services through the area, which could have easily delayed hundreds of passengers heading to the airport and missing their flights over the Easter holidays.
“We are urging anyone who was in or around that area to contact us if they saw anything suspicious or have any information that may help us with our enquiries.
“If you know who was responsible, or have any information that could assist our investigation, we want to hear from you.”
A spokesperson for Network Rail added: “This reckless behaviour is unacceptable and those responsible are fortunate that the impact of their actions was not more serious. Network Rail fully supports British Transport Police attempts to track down these criminals so they can face the consequences of their irresponsible actions.”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact BTP on 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 50 of 04/04/12 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.