Teen jailed for pushing shopping trolley in front of train

AN “utterly reckless” teenager who hurled a shopping trolley into the path of a passenger train as it sped through Essex was jailed yesterday.

Roddy Ashworth

AN “utterly reckless” teenager who hurled a shopping trolley into the path of a passenger train as it sped through Essex was jailed yesterday.

Around 250 people were on board the Liverpool Street to Clacton service when 17-year-old Adam Holland threw the trolley from an overhead bridge in Springfield, Chelmsford.

The train struck the supermarket trolley at around 100mph before dragging it along the line for 20 seconds as the driver battled to stop.

Eventually the train came to a halt having suffered a major fault, leaving its passengers frightened and in darkness for more than two hours while repairs were carried out.

Luckily, no injuries were reported but the incident caused lengthy delays to subsequent services.

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British Transport Police (BTP) immediately launched a major investigation into the crime, which happened on the evening of October 28, 2008.

A month later Holland was arrested after a local newspaper appeal led to a tip off from a member of the public.

The 17-year-old was jailed for 18 months yesterday at Chelmsford Crown Court after being found guilty of malicious obstruction of the railway at an earlier trial.

The teenager, of Fordson Road, Chelmsford, had denied the charge.

PC Bob Kelsey, the investigating officer for BTP, said: “This was a foolish and irresponsible prank that risked the safety of passengers and rail staff.

“The driver told how at the point of impact he seriously feared for the safety of his passengers and it is easy to see why.

“The train was travelling at high speed and was carrying 250 passengers - the result of such an impact could have been catastrophic.

“Behaviour such as this will not be tolerated and we will do all we can to track down those responsible.

“Placing objects on the railway is utterly reckless and I am pleased that the court recognised the seriousness of this offence.”

Andy Sanders, head of safety for National Express East Anglia, said: “This was an extremely dangerous and reckless act which caused delays and disruption to train services and could have resulted in more serious consequences.

“We will continue to work closely with our colleagues at BTP and Network Rail in seeking to prevent mindless acts of vandalism and to bring those responsible to justice.”

Andrew Munden, Network Rail route director for Anglia, said: “Deliberate and dangerous acts like this have the potential to cause massive disruption, serious injury or even death.

“It could have had devastating consequences and the tough sentence handed down today shows that there are tough penalties for people who put the safety of the travelling public at risk.

“We thank our colleagues at BTP for their efforts in this case and for their ongoing support in keeping our railway safe.”