Rail bosses apologise over thefts

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RAIL bosses apologised to passengers who suffered major delays after vandals tried to steal cables from the line.

Officials from Northern Rail said sorry when they held a Meet the Manager event at Hartlepool railway station.

They spoke to passengers who were affected by the latest act of vandalism and appealed for their help to tackle the problem.

Dozens of services along the Durham coast were disrupted when yobs wrecked three signal boxes between Seaton Carew and Seaham last Tuesday morning.

It saw some services cancelled for almost four hours while engineers worked to fix the problem.

Passengers complained to the Northern Rail chiefs about their lack of communication at the public event.

One of those affected by Tuesday’s cable theft was Susan Connor, from Hartlepool, who gets the train to work in Newcastle four times a week.

Her usual 8.02am train was cancelled and she got on a replacement bus at 9.30am.

She said: “We know cable gets stolen but it’s what they do as an organisation after that which really bugs customers.

“There is very poor communication when things go wrong.”

Adrian Barkley, Northern Rail station delivery manager, said: “We can understand the frustration of our customers.

“We are here today basically just to apologise for the disruption caused by cable thefts.

“We are working in partnership with Network Rail and British Transport Police and we are also asking passengers to help us as well.”

Mick Brown, Northern Rail service quality manager, said they were willing to review their communication systems to keep passengers up to date.

After speaking to managers, Mrs Connor, a grants officer from the Rossmere area of town, added: “They are making all the right noises which is good but it’s what they do after that I’m interested in.”

Anyone who sees any suspicious activity on the railway is urged to contact British Transport Police on 0800 405040.