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Dangerous attacks on region’s trains DOWN almost 90% as risk of being ‘caught on camera’ far greater, says Northern

The number of dangerous attacks on trains operated by Northern is down almost 90% in the last 12 months, with the number of recorded incidents at just eight.

Last year, the number was 69.

The statistics relate to trains being struck by objects thrown from bridges, railway embankments and stations or those which collide with ‘substantial items’ deliberately placed on the track.

Earlier this year, Northern added a further 600 new CCTV cameras to the more than 1,000 that monitor its station estate. These were in addition to the 7,000 new cameras fitted on-board its fleet of trains in 2022, footage from which can be viewed by British Transport Police in real time.

The eight suspicious incidents recorded this year were:

  • A service from Manchester Piccadilly to Rose Hill Marple that was struck by stones thrown at Hyde North station
  • A service from Leeds to Skipton that was targeted with a brick at Kirkstall Forge station
  • A service from Clitheroe to Rochdale that collided with a ‘Zimmer’ frame placed on the tracks at Hall 'i' th' Wood
  • A service from Warrington Central to Liverpool Lime Street that hit a chair placed on the tracks at Widnes
  • A service outbound from Blackpool North that collided with a drainpipe thrown onto the track
  • A service from York to Leeds that struck an unknown object at Marston Moor
  • A service from Southport to Manchester Oxford Road that struck an unknown object at Patricroft
  • And a service from Leeds to Bradford Forster Square that was targeted with pellets fired from an air gun.

There were five additional reports of trains striking objects on the track, however these were attributed to strong winds during bad weather and are not being treated as suspicious. 

Tricia Williams, chief operating officer at Northern, said: “Each and every incident recorded represents a serious danger to the passengers and train crew involved and we appeal to anyone involved in this criminal activity to stop.

“Fortunately, the appetite for committing these senseless acts is clearly in decline – not least of all because the chance of being ‘caught on camera’ is now far greater.

“That said, we certainly won’t be resting on our laurels. These statistics should stand at zero and we will continue to work with community partners across the region and our colleagues at Network Rail to identify the perpetrators and support British Transport Police with any prosecutions brought before the courts.”

Anyone who witnesses items being thrown at trains or sees someone placing items on the track should contact British Transport Police immediately by texting 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40. Alternatively, please call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Rail users should also download the British Transport Police ‘Railway Guardian’ app, an all-in-one safety app that allows users to report crimes or concerns on the rail network, share journeys with trusted contacts and get access to news, guides and support. It is available to download from Google Play and the Apple App Store.

On Sunday (10 December), rail timetables across the North of England will change in line with the rest of the National Rail network. Customers are encouraged to use the ‘Check My Timetable’ feature on the Northern website for more information about their local station.

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

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