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Attack on express


Hooligans badly damaged a high speed train carrying 1,000 travellers through Newark on Monday afternoon.

A 6ft plank was hurled under the train near the spot where the East Coast Mainline crosses the Nottingham-Lincoln track.

It hit a passenger carriage, then bounced and made a gaping hole in the floor of the trailing locomotive.

The Grand Central service to Sunderland, capable of 125mph, took a mile to stop.

The site is overlooked by the bridge carrying the A46 Newark relief road over the London line.

Transport police are appealing for information about the incident, at 1.30pm.

They believe the plank was taken from a nearby disused woodyard, placed on top of a trackside fence, then launched under the train.

Grand Central’s operations director, Mr Sean English, said the driver knew nothing of the impact until staff at the back of the train reported it.

The plank was embedded, but a technician decided it was safe to continue to York, where the damaged unit was replaced.

Mr English said: “This is wanton vandalism that could have wrecked lives.

“We now have a very large hole in one of our power cars and some scraping to one of the first class carriages.

“We have been operating for 30 years and have never had a derailment of a train so maybe this is testament to that safety record.”

Sergeant Steve Broughton, of British Transport Police, viewed the incident as a childish prank, but Mr English was convinced that it was an attempted derailment.

Anyone with information should call British Transport Police on 01472 266319, quoting incident number 176 of December 31.

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