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Train Warning

by msecadm4921

Thieves and graffiti vandals who trespass on the new Channel Tunnel rail link through Thurrock have been warned that they are risking their lives now that the track is being tested by 200mph trains.

The line is due to open in November, but intensive testing will be carried out over the next few months to check the complex signal and communication systems and to give drivers training sessions on the new locomotives.

However, the route through Purfleet is being plagued by thieves who have been taking materials and trackside cables and by graffiti vandals who are recklessly trying to impress their friends by leaving their ‘tags’ on bridges and embankments beside the tracks.

In one incident, thieves stole 200 metres of trackside earth cable worth £2,100, causing £7,000 damage in the process as they cut through fibre-optic cable that is used to control signals and line-side communications.

Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant Jasmine Frost said: “There have been a number of thefts during the construction of the line, but now that they are testing trains at high speed anyone who trespasses on the line is taking their life in their own hands. It really is a crazy, irresponsible thing to do.

“Graffiti vandals were probably trying to improve their ‘street cred’ by putting their marks or “tags” at dangerous locations.

“We are aware that the kids get extra points among themselves by being more daring, but they really are risking their lives on this new line.”

Keith Paton, security manager for the rail link project, said that high-speed testing would be carried out virtually every night.

“Slower trains are used on the line during the day to carry staff and materials to various construction sites,” said Mr Paton. “But at night, the trains will be running at 200mph while the drivers undergo training and while the signals systems are tested. People might not think they are in danger when they see the slower trains during the day but they would not stand a chance if they got caught on the line at night.

“So if anyone gets in the way of a train it would be a zero-survival incident. I can’t put it any plainer than that.”

Mr Paton said that trespassers also run the risk of being electrocuted by the overhead cables used to power the trains.

He added: “They carry 25,000 volts and have an arcing capacity of nine feet which means they will kill anyone who gets too close or holds something like a fishing rod too close to the power lines.”

Mr Paton also hit out at the graffiti vandals for defacing bridges and embankments along the line.

“This is a showpiece railway and it has been a long time coming. It will benefit the whole country and the south-east in particular. But the first thing you see when you arrive from Paris or Brussels will be a load of graffiti and damage to the trackside. What sort of an impression does that give of this country?!”

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