Rail arson attacks may be linked
British Transport Police are investigating whether arson attacks on track signalling equipment in the Birmingham area are linked to similar incidents at the nearby locations last year.
BRITISH Transport Police are investigating whether arson attacks on track signalling equipment in the Birmingham area are linked to similar incidents at the nearby locations last year.
Signal cables were set on fire at Water Orton, Warwickshire — on the Birmingham-Derby main line — on Friday night. Around 350 trains were disrupted and 40 cancelled.
The previous day, arsonists targeted cables at Garretts Green in Birmingham, on the main line to Coventry and London. A lock on a signal cabinet was smashed and equipment set alight. More than 700 trains were hit and 90 cancelled, including services between Birmingham and London.
The culprit is thought to be a disgruntled rail worker or former employee.
A 30-strong team of detectives — set up 12 months ago in a vain bid to catch the attacker — is being recalled. And Network Rail has reinstated a £25,000 reward to catch the saboteur.
British Transport Police believe the attacks are connected.
Officers are looking into possible links with trackside vandalism near Kingsbury and Coleshill in summer 2004, which disrupted more than 1,000 trains.
Simon Lewis of British Transport Police told BBC News in the Midlands that the train operating companies and Network Rail estimate that the attacks have cost £10 million in damage, lost business and compensation.
"Network Rail has to pay compensation to the train operating companies if the infrastructure is damaged and trains are delayed," he said.