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Choas on railways after vandalism

PUBLISHED: 23:41 17 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:56 02 March 2010

DISGRUNTLED rail contractors with a grudge could have been behind vandalism which plunged thousands of journeys into chaos today.

Signalling cables were cut in two places on the main line between East Anglia and London – throwing all trains in and out of Norwich into chaos.

DISGRUNTLED rail contractors with a grudge could have been behind vandalism which plunged thousands of journeys into chaos today.

Signalling cables were cut in two places on the main line between East Anglia and London – throwing all trains in and out of Norwich into chaos.

Rail chiefs are certain this was a premeditated attack on the rail network – the damage was caused by people with specialist equipment and more than one person must have been involved because heavy concrete troughs were moved during the attack.

The attackers also replaced the heavy troughs – making it more difficult for engineers to find the cause of the problem.

Journeys between Norwich and Ipswich were delayed by between 30 minutes and an hour as emergency signalling was introduced on a stretch of line in Norfolk – and by mid-morning an emergency timetable with half the normal amount of trains between London and Norwich was brought into operation.

Journeys from Ipswich to London were not taking any longer than normal, but there were fewer through trains and a shuttle service was introduced between Ipswich and Colchester allowing passengers to change on to other trains to the capital.

Bosses at rail company 'one' and Network Rail were furious about the damage.

Peter Meades, from 'one' said: “This was wanton vandalism. It can only have been done by people who wanted to disrupt journeys.

“It was premeditated damage undertaken by people who knew what they were doing – they had to use professional bolt cutters to cut these signalling cables which are fibre-optic and well-protected.

“They also moved the heavy concrete troughs which protect them. This wasn't a spur-of-the moment thing by someone with a pair of garden shears!”

The damage was expected to take all day to repair – services to the capital are expected to be disrupted until this evening at the earliest.


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