British Transport Police (BTP) has appealed for the public’s help after a large concrete slab was placed on the Weardale railway line on Sunday, 31 July.
The incident was reported to police at 09:35 after a member of rail staff saw the slab on the track near Wolshingham train station.
PC Ryan Griffiths, the investigating officer, said:
“Luckily the obstruction was spotted by a member of rail staff prior to a train travelling on the line which was extremely fortunate. Those who think that placing objects on the tracks is fun or a game should consider the consequences of their actions.
“If a train had struck the slab it could have easily derailed.
“In recent weeks we have noticed an increase in reports of incidents on the railway in this area. The Weardale railway is now used for freight services, in addition to being used as a tourist line, which has resulted in an increase in the number of trains travelling on this stretch of railway.
“If mindless incidents such as this carry on, it’s only a matter of time before someone is injured.”
PC Griffiths added: “The railway is an inherently dangerous environment, and it should never be treated as a playground or somewhere to hang about. Anyone who trespasses onto the railway is also risking their life and a prison sentence.
“I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time or who can help identify those responsible to contact us as a matter of urgency.”