Northern, the second largest train operator in the UK, has announced a £1,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible for targeting one of their trains with air gun pellets.
The incident occurred last week on Monday, May 22, when a rush hour train travelling from Leeds to Bradford Forster Square was struck near Kirkstall Forge station just before 5:30 pm. The British Transport Police are currently investigating the incident.
This attack comes shortly after Northern featured on BBC One’s Frontline Fightback program, which shed light on a similar incident in 2022. During that incident, a driver’s train cab window was hit by a brick. In the past 12 months, a total of 69 Northern services in the North of England have been struck by objects.
These included 42 incidents where bricks, stones, and rocks were thrown from bridges and railway embankments, as well as 27 instances where “substantial items” such as shopping trollies, pushchairs, and bikes were deliberately placed on the tracks.
Concerned for the safety of their passengers and employees, Northern recently completed the installation of 7,000 high-definition CCTV cameras across their fleet of trains. The footage captured by these cameras is made available to the British Transport Police in real-time, aiding in their investigations.
Tony Baxter, the regional director for Northern, expressed his relief that no one was injured in the recent attack. He condemned the perpetrators, stating, “It beggars belief that anyone thinks it’s ‘fun’ to target a train in this way.
Anything involving shattered glass, while trains are travelling at high speed, can be very dangerous.” Baxter hopes that the reward offered by Northern will encourage individuals with knowledge of the attacker to come forward and provide information to the British Transport Police.
Those with information about the incident are urged to contact the British Transport Police by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40. Alternatively, anonymous tips can be provided to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.