A reward of £500 is being offered for information leading to the conviction of vandals who brought Sheffield's railway network to a standstill.
British Transport Police said 'mindless vandals' placed railway cable across the tracks in the Ecclesfield area, which was struck by two passenger trains.
Both train undercarriages were badly damaged, leaving them disabled on the tracks and causing 'widespread disruption' to services to and from Meadowhall.
A window of one of the trains was also smashed during the incident.
Taxis and minibuses had to be ordered for passengers.
An investigation into the incident at 9.45pm on Sunday is underway.
Sergeant Andy Selby said: “As we’ve witnessed from this incident, cable theft has a huge impact on the railway network and leads to lengthy and disruptive journeys to passengers.
"Not to mention the significant financial impact of having to replace stolen or damaged cable, damaged trains and pay for alternative travel.
“If you were in the Ecclesfield area on Sunday evening and saw anything suspicious or have any information which may help us identify those responsible, please contact us."
Chris Jackson, Head of Trains and Stations for Northern, said: “It’s truly unbelievable that people will do anything as mindless as this.
“It’s only through good fortune that no-one was injured as a result of this senseless vandalism.
“We are committed to working with our colleagues at BTP to trace those responsible and are offering £500 to anyone with information which leads to a conviction.”
Vickie Beadle, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “This type of behaviour is incredibly dangerous and people need to realise that the railway is not a playground.
"This incident is completely unacceptable and caused unnecessary disruption for those simply trying to get home.”
Call British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 514 of November 19.
Crimestoppers can also be contacted on 0800 555 111.