VANDALS who left a bike on a railway track in the early hours of the morning, which was later struck by a train, have been condemned.
British Transport Police are hunting the culprits and say it’s only through sheer luck that no-one was hurt or the train derailed.
CCTV captured two youths riding across Bedhampton level crossing at 1.34am on Saturday.
Seconds later, out of shot, one of the bikes is pushed back towards the crossing, landing on the tracks.
Inspector Mick Morriss said: ‘Two hours later it was struck by the early morning 3.34am Southern service from Barnham to Portsmouth and Southsea, causing an explosion and sending a blinding shower of sparks flying into the air.
‘I simply cannot over-emphasise enough the dangers of this type of crime.
‘Through sheer luck, no-one was injured and the train was relatively undamaged, but the consequences could have been far worse.
‘Trains travel at high speeds and there is a very real risk when they strike objects on the track that they could be derailed.’
Nicola Dooris, community safety manager for Network Rail, added: ‘This was nothing short of mindless vandalism and those responsible clearly gave no thought for the impact their actions had on others.
‘The incident could have caused delays for passengers and put innocent people’s safety at risk.
‘The railway is not a playground and we would urge anyone with information to contact the British Transport Police.’
Southern Rail said the train was not carrying any passengers and was on its way to Portsmouth & Southsea train station ready to begin an early morning service.
Fortunately the train was not damaged and the explosion was the tripping of the electrical circuit which was reset.
Officers from British Transport Police and Network Rail had to retrieve the twisted bits of metal and rubber from the bike which were scattered over the track.
Chris Hudson, a spokesman from Southern, added: ‘We’re appalled at the reckless behaviour of the person who pushed the bike onto the line. In this case, there were no passengers on the train and there was no damage, but on another day, the outcome could have been very serious indeed.
‘We urge anyone who knows who did this to come forward and identify them to police.’
Anyone with information should call BTP on 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 83 of 10 March or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.