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Train bosses step up security

SPY cameras will be trained on young vandals around railway tracks in Northwich during the summer holidays.

SPY cameras will be trained on young vandals around railway tracks in Northwich during the summer holidays.

A half million pound repair bill after vandals attacked railway lines in the area has forced train bosses to step up security.

A new 'candid camera' campaign aimed at catching vandals in the act is the main weapon in Railtrack's bid to get trains back on line in the Mid Cheshire area after two months of disruption.

They say they will expose the destructive antics of youngsters in schools after the summer holiday.

Rail movements in the area are set to return to normal on Monday after yobs set fire to signalling equipment at Northwich on June 4.

The fire damaged 80 signal relays leaving Railtrack with no option but to put staff next to railway lines to instruct drivers via hand signals, causing delays to passenger services.

Railtrack spokesman Alison Kerry said: 'This has cost a lot of money, it is extremely irresponsible.

'Vandals don't seem to be aware of the danger they are putting themselves in ­ they are endangering their own lives as well as those of other people.'

It has cost Railtrack £493,000 to repair damage to the signalling equipment, plus extra money to put additional staff next to the line to give drivers instructions by hand.

The company was also fined £60 for every minute trains have been late during the disruption.

Railtrack North West will have staff armed with video and stills cameras out and about on trains in Mid Cheshire, sitting up front with drivers to catch incidents as they happen. And passenger trains will have 'keyhole' cameras so anyone damaging the inside of a carriage will be caught in the act.

'The whole point of the campaign is to identify young vandals and trespassers so that when schools return after the summer holidays, we can arrange meetings with teachers and get the safety message across to those people involved,' said Mrs Kerry.

In the last year there have been 19 separate incidents of vandalism and trespass in and around trains and tracks in Northwich. The incidents include children playing 'chicken' on the line and throwing stones at passing trains.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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