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LUCKY ESCAPE; EXCLUSIVE Police fears after brick is dropped on speeding train.

Byline: Laura Nicklin

POLICE say it is just a matter of time before someone is killed after vandals dropped a brick on a speeding train.

The driver of the packed high-speed commuter train had a lucky escape when the rock shattered the windscreen and he was showered with broken glass.

The First Great Western Swansea to London Paddington service was travelling under the Llangattock footbridge, leading from Finchley Road to Wroughton Place in Fairwater, Cardiff, at 75mph when yobs lobbed the brick.

FGW said the stone smashed through seven layers of laminated glass and clear plastic, measuring one inch in thickness.

Miraculously, the driver only needed treatment for shock.

British Transport Police Inspector Gary Ash said: "From the state of the window, if the train had been travelling any faster, or if the brick had been thrown harder, we'd be dealing with a much more serious situation."

Since this incident on Monday morning, there have been another three incidents where missiles have been thrown at trains in the South Wales area.

On Monday afternoon, a missile was thrown at a highspeed train as it passed through the Wentloog Road area of Cardiff, damaging the engine and taking it out of service.

Two more incidents happened on Thursday in Treorchy when train windows were smashed.

Insp Ash said: "This sort of vandalism is becoming more and more common in Cardiff and it is only a matter or time before someone is seriously injured or killed."

The Monday morning service was abandoned at Cardiff Central and passengers had to board another train to continue their journey.

Waiting to board at Cardiff were four South Wales MPs - Cardiff MP Kevin Brennan, Vale of Glamorgan MP John Smith, Ogmore MP Huw Irranca Davies and Bridgend MP Win Griffiths.

Echo columnist Mr Brennan said: "I saw the windscreen was shattered.

"It was clear that the driver could easily have been killed if the glass had given way completely."

Rail companies in the UK are now lobbying the Government to slap a charge of attempted murder on those who throw missiles at trains.

If anyone has information about these incidents they should call British Transport Police on 029 2038 8184.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 23, 2002
Words:364
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