A £5,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the conviction of vandals who threw a concrete slab at a train windscreen in the West Midlands.
British Transport Police (BTP) has releasing CCTV images of youths detectives want to speak to in connection with the incident.
And the force has teamed up with train company, London Midland, who are offering the £5,000 reward, in a renewed appeal to find those responsible for the attack. The train was passing through Lye on its way from Kidderminster to Tyseley depot in Birmingham at 7.35pm on Monday 1 June when the driver spotted four youths on a footbridge at Bromley Street.
One of the youths hurled the concrete block, measuring about 1ft x 2ft, at the train. It shattered the windscreen, causing glass to enter the cab. The 37-year-old driver, who is from Tamworth, was fortunate to escape with only relatively minor cuts to his arm but was left badly shaken.
BTP detectives say the driver was extremely lucky that the concrete block struck the “second man” side of the cab, rather than the side the driver was positioned at.
They said the attack could have had far more serious consequences and mirrored an incident in December 2006 which left train driver Joseph Paxton with serious facial injuries and lasting psychological scars. Mr Paxton, 59, from Birmingham, was driving a freight train through Kidderminster when a large block of masonry was thrown from a bridge.
The block smashed through the windscreen of the train, knocking Mr Paxton unconscious. He was taken to hospital with extensive facial injuries and continues to suffer ill health as a result of what happened. Kevin Clee, who was 19 at the time, and a 17-year-old youth were jailed for a total of 13-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to recklessly endangering a life.
CID officers investigating the incident on 1 June are today renewing their appeal for anyone who was in the area near Bromley Street footbridge in Lye at around 7.30pm on Monday, 1 June, to contact them.
Enquiries so far have established that four Asian youths, aged between 15 and 18, were spotted running from the scene shortly after the incident happened.
Three are described as wearing dark clothing, while the fourth wore a hooded top with a motif printed on its front. One of the youths was carrying a bag.
Detective Constable Bryan Dorrian, of BTP, said: “This was a frightening experience for the driver. It mirrored a similar attack in Kidderminster in December 2006, and
could have resulted in tragic consequences.
“It is important we find those responsible. We are also trying to trace a further witness who drove past the scene without knowing what had just taken place.
“This person was driving what we believe to be a grey Citroen C1 car which turned right from Bromley Street into Stourvale Road and would have passed the four youths running away from the scene at 7.35pm.
“BTP hopes the £5,000 reward offered by our colleagues at London Midland will tempt people to come forward with information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of offenders.
“We could easily be looking at another driver having received serious injuries, or even worse – a fatality.”
London Midland managing director, Stephen Banaghan, said: “We take reckless incidents that compromise the safety of our passengers and London Midland staff extremely seriously.
“We are offering this £5,000 reward in a bid to seek new information that will lead to a conviction and will do everything we can to assist BTP in identifying these offenders.
“Incidents such as this are uncommon, but throwing stones at trains can have dreadful consequences and I'd urge anyone who has information to assist BTP in their enquiries to come forward.”
Anyone with information is urged to ring British Transport Police free on 0800 40 50 40 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.