TRANSPORT police have launched an investigation after a stone was thrown at a train – smashing the driver’s window.
It is believed the stone was launched at the train from a field 300 yards north of Billingham station as the train was travelling to Hartlepool.
No-one was hurt, but the train had to be taken out of action when it reached Newcastle station.
Officers at British Transport Police (BTP) have appealed for anyone with any information about the incident, or who saw anyone acting suspiciously, to come forward.
PC Gary Sykes, based at Middlesbrough BTP station, said: “The stone, which is believed to have been thrown from a field 300 yards north of Billingham station, smashed the driver’s front window cracking the glass and making it almost impossible for the train to continue its journey.
“As a result, the train ran at a reduced speed delaying the service and passengers’ journeys.”
The train was taken out of service at Newcastle station and passengers were put on alternative services to allow them to make their way home.
The incident happened at about 3.50pm on Monday, March 21, as the 3.16pm Nunthorpe to Hexham service passed through Billingham.
PC Sykes added: “Although no one was injured, this dangerous incident left the driver understandably shaken as well as unnecessarily delaying passenger’s journeys during a busy time.
“We urge those who think that throwing stones and other objects at passing trains is fun to consider the consequences of their actions, which could have been much worse.
“Offenders who throw objects at trains not only risk seriously injuring passengers and staff but are risking a prison term.
“I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time or who can help identify those responsible to contact us as a matter of urgency.”
Anyone with information should call BTP on Freefone 0800 405040, quoting background reference B7/NEA of 28/03/2011, or call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.