Terrorism 'Not Ruled Out' In UK Train Crash

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:08 PM EDT

London (CNSNews.com) - British police are not ruling out the possibility that the derailing of a high-speed train north of London Tuesday was the work of terrorists. A telephonic threat was received over the weekend, said Paul Nicholas, assistant chief constable of the British Transport Police.

"As a result of that we would not at this stage rule out the possibility of terrorism," he was quoted by reporters.

At least four people were killed and 80 hurt to various degrees when the Great North Eastern Railway train from London to Leeds left the tracks while traveling at more than 100 miles per hour.

Simon Lubin, a spokesman for the Transport Police, said by telephone that the threat had been made against the particular stretch of line and had been "non-specific."

While terrorism was "a possibility," he said, so was vandalism. The rescue operation had only just been completed and searching for clues at the site could now begin.

Lubin said there had been a fairly high number of terrorist incidents targeting railway lines in the UK since the early 1990s, but none had resulted in a major crash.

A Hertfordshire County police spokesperson said local police were "keeping on open mind" as investigations continued.

A spokesperson for Scotland Yard referred all inquiries to the Transport Police but confirmed that it was "par for the course" that the police Anti-Terrorism Squad would investigate if there were suspicions of terrorism.

A spokesman for Railtrack, which operates the railway infrastructure, said the train had been traveling on the correct line, and there was no suggestion of faulty signaling equipment.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow