Reward to catch train saboteurs

RAIL bosses have today offered a reward of £10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the saboteur – or saboteurs – who caused chaos on the main line between East Anglia and London.

RAIL bosses have today offered a reward of £10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the saboteur – or saboteurs – who caused chaos on the main line between East Anglia and London.

Services were decimated on Friday after signalling cables were cut at Newton Flotman and Swainsthorpe, between Norwich and Diss.

The cost of the repairs and compensation for delayed passengers is set to run well over £200,000.

A total of 60 people were involved in keeping what trains there were running and in repairing the cable, which is believed to have been cut by people with an inside knowledge of the rail industry.

Sergeant Andrew Cook of the British Transport Police said: "This appears to have been a malicious attack with the intent of severely disrupting the railway. "We are appealing for witnesses to come forward who may have seen anybody acting suspiciously in the area where the incidents occurred."

Police believe that the damage was caused by someone with knowledge of the rail system – carrying specialist equipment.

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The cable was cut with heavy-duty equipment – not something most people would have access to. That has prompted police to check whether it was the work of disgruntled rail contractors.

Jon Wiseman, Network Rail Route Director, said it was the worst rail sabotage he had ever seen.

He said: "We had to launch a major operation to keep trains running while we repaired the damage, diverting staff from other important activities around the region.

"We are working closely with the British Transport Police and hope that the offer of this reward will help to uncover vital evidence to bring these criminals to justice."

Network Rail had 50 people repairing the signalling and undertaking manual signalling along the stretch of track in Norfolk.

A spokeswoman said: "We had to have people waving trains through and exchanging tokens with drivers – it's a very labour-intensive process.

"As well as the signalling, we had to have people on the ground operating every single level crossing – it was a major operation."

Rail passengers suffered more problems on the line yesterday – the hot weather caused the tracks to buckle and forced Network Rail to introduce speed restrictions.

And there were further delays caused by track problems in the Harold Wood area near Brentwood in Essex.