RECKLESS vandals could have derailed a Sheffield-bound train putting lives at risk after they heaved a large boulder on to railway tracks.
British Transport Police said passengers were lucky to escape unscathed after the train’s undercarriage was seriously damaged when it struck the concrete block - which was thrown 80metres down the track.
They praised the driver’s quick thinking and said his actions probably ‘averted disaster’ after he spotted the boulder and slammed on the emergency brakes.
The Huddersfield to Sheffield train hit the boulder, which police believe had been deliberately placed on the tracks, at the Silkstone Fall railway foot crossing near Dodworth station last Sunday afternoon.
No one was injured in the incident but the train’s undercarriage suffered signficant damage and was forced out of service, British Transport Police said.
PC Steve Jacques, the investigating officer, said: “The driver and passengers had a lucky escape as the train could have easily derailed, which could have resulted in serious injury or even worse.
“The quick-thinking actions of the driver, who managed to brake and slow the train down, may have helped in averting a disaster.
“This was a reckless crime and a mindless act of vandalism and I would appeal to anyone who may have any information which may be able to assist us in finding those responsible to contact us.”
In a separate incident, a yob threw a stone at a Sheffield train and smashed one of the windows.
The Lincoln to Sheffield train was travelling between Kiveton Bridge and Woodhouse stations when it was attacked on Friday, September 14.
PC Jacques said “This sort of behaviour is extremely dangerous and this offence could have easily resulted in a passenger being seriously injured, not just the considerable damage to the train, which as a result had to be taken out or service to be fixed.
“Those responsible are not only risking serious injury to passengers and staff, they are also risking an appearance in court and a criminal conviction.”
Anyone who has any information should call British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40.