"Bomb" on an MOD Train...

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Coxster

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Yes, as if the nuclear trains weren't enough for The Mirror - http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_hea...objectid=18470907&siteid=94762-name_page.html

A MIRROR journalist holds a fake bomb as he stands by an unguarded train filled with Army explosives - exposing a horrifying security blunder.

The MoD train, containing up to 200 tons of artillery shells, bullets, grenades and mortars for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, was in a supposedly high-security yard plastered with "keep out" signs.

But undercover reporter Tom Parry and photographer Roger Allen were able to walk off the mainline platform at Didcot Parkway station, Oxfordshire, and wander over to the train as it waited in sidings.

Neither man had ID papers but merely wore rail worker-style orange overalls and hard hats - easily available at any hardware store.

Entrance to the yard is meant to be strictly restricted by a security gate which can only be opened by using an access code that is frequently changed. Parry and Allen bypassed the system by strolling off the platform, crossing the main rail line which is virtually unused in the early hours and strolling into the yard with their fake detonator.

Several contractors and drivers were milling around - but they barely glanced at the Mirror pair.

The train, which had stopped en route to a Royal Navy transport ship in Marchwood, Hants, was left exposed for more than an hour. During that time Parry and Allen were not questioned once about who there were or why they hanging around the train.

A railway source said: "It is breathtakingly easy to get close to the ammo trains, a walk across the tracks from the platform and you're there. People would assume it is the most closely-guarded train in the land but in fact it's just like any other freight train.

"If someone wanted to sabotage it or hold up the military supply line, they wouldn't need to overpower anyone."

MPs yesterday said the Mirror's investigation had shown the ammo trains were scandalously vulnerable.

Lib Dem Shadow Defence Secretary Mick Harvey said: "This is a mess-up of mind-boggling proportions. It is an utter scandal that the supply chain for munitions is open to attack by anyone half-organised. The government must act immediately to ensure the trains are secured."

Tory Homeland Security spokesman Patrick Mercer said: "The government has got to realise that it must take transport security and ammunition security much more seriously."

Defence expert Mike Yardley said: "It is good that the Daily Mirror has called attention to this. There is always the possibility someone using an improvised explosive device could ignite one of these containers. This is an obvious terror target."

The revelation comes less than six months after the Mirror told how trains carrying deadly nuclear waste to Sellafield were at risk of terrorist attack after being left similarly unguarded at stations.

A steady flow of military vehicles, tanks and back-up supplies passes through Didcot.

The cargo our team targeted on Friday originated at Scotland's Glen Douglas military depot. Glen Douglas is NATO's largest weapons base in Europe, with a 40,000 square metre storage capacity for explosives.

It is used by the armed forces to stock ammunition during major conflicts and is also home to Trident nuclear submarines.

The train paused at Carlisle then Wigan, Warrington, Crewe and Walsall. It pulled into Didcot on time at 4.26am.

After leaving the yard the train was scheduled to go through Reading, Basingstoke and Winchester. A bomb timed to explode in any of these densely-populated areas could cause unimaginable carnage.

In June 1944 Soham, Cambs, was devastated when fire on an ammunition train detonated two five ton bombs. Two men died. A year later, an ammo wagon exploded near Bootle, Merseyside, leaving a 45ft deep crater.

English, Welsh and Scottish Railway, the freight company contracted to the MOD, now faces an inquiry over the security lapse.

The MoD said: "We have already taken up this issue with EWS."

A company spokesman added: "EWS will conduct a review of its operational arrangements and security procedures. If sensible enhancements can be made, these will be implemented."
 
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Mojo

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EWS has responded
http://www.ews-railway.co.uk/cmsystem/news_article.asp?guid={37C46C24-0843-48A0-BD9C-72E8FC791541}
EWS has today offered a £5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the railway employee who leaked confidential train consignment and movement information to a journalist from the Daily Mirror, as featured in their paper published today Monday 15 January 2007.

The Daily Mirror has informed EWS that they were provided with this information from a railway employee. The paper confirmed that this employee does not work for EWS.

All EWS employees involved in these trains adhere to the Official Secrets Act. In the ten years EWS has operated these services, there has never been a security breach. In addition, any employee in the rail industry who is involved in and aware of information relating to these services is also covered by the Official Secrets Act.

Using the information provided by this railway employee, the journalist accessed Didcot yard at 0430 on Friday 12 January 2007 by trespassing on a high speed mainline railway, placing himself and others in extreme danger.

The law clearly prohibits public access over the mainline operational railway. The tragic event that occurred at the London Underground depot in Barking on the night of Friday 12 January is a graphic example of what can happen if people trespass on the railway. EWS believes this journalist’s actions to be highly irresponsible, and holds the view that articles of this nature may encourage others to trespass on the railway.

Didcot yard is a secure site. The official point of entry is only through a pedestrian gate which is locked 24 hours a day. Employees must enter a security code to gain access to the yard. This code is frequently changed. Random security patrols check this entry point for loitering individuals or signs of attempted entry. Visitors to the yard are met at the gate by an employee and walked to the person they are meeting. There is no access for cars.

The journalist accessed the yard by parking at Didcot station, walking down a platform, trespassing on the high speed mainline and entered the railway sidings adjacent to the station. While the train in the Daily Mirror article was in the yard, it was being stabled in accordance with rail industry operational and security arrangements. EWS will now conduct a review of its operational arrangements and security procedures. If sensible enhancements can be made, these will be implemented.

It is regrettable a non-EWS rail industry employee decided to leak this information. This was a very irresponsible act by this person. EWS urges anyone with information that can assist in the arrest of this railway employee to contact the British Transport Police.
 

Guinness

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To be honest, I don't think The Mirror or any other media source help the security situation at all. It's hardly helping EWS as they're now going to have spend a lot of money checking security procedures, fencing and all because the Daily Mirror has kindly exposed a "Security Lapse" on the Network leaving it open to potential terrorist targets.

It does more harm than good.

This is my personal opinion, so let's tread carefully on this topic.
 

Dennis

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The EWS response suggests to me that they expect terrorist / general nutters to be law abiding! They aren't going to go through the gate if there is a way around it....

It seems nuclear flasks are pretty much impregnable but what about the 'containers' of this train?
 

LucaZone

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In all fairness, if someone wanted to cause damage to this train, yes they would need to gain information about its operation first, but they wouldnt need to enter any yard or breach any security.

They could just get themselves a bunch of grenades or a rocket launcher and stand on a foot crossing or by the track side!

Yes EMS do need to think more carefully about the movement of these trains, and I suggest that the fact it had stopped en-route as the biggest blunder. Maybe something like 2 crews on the train, switching over while still under way would have been better than stopping and leaving the train un-attended.


It also further highlights the complacency in railway security in general. Purchasing Railway 'like' safety clothing, and looking like track workers pretty much removes the possibility of someone questioning who you are!

Everyone remembers the story of the two boys who nipped into an EWS yard and shunted an 08 about. The only reason they were caught was because they didnt look like railway staff! unbelieveable!
 

WessexWarrior

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What good would a terrorist blowing up an explosives train do? It would cause disruption, but wouldn't kill anyone except possibly the driver... it makes no sense: it's not even a target for people like this.

This is completely irresponsible. I guarantee 90% of the public never even knew that explosives trains existed, I know my flatmates didn't. If anything, moronic 'stories' like this give terrorist idiots not only the idea, but an incentive.
 

nutter

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These are explosives by definition WW, and will make mince meat of a container like that if fired at with an RPG (rocket propelled grenade).

Remember back in 1942, when that explosive train went up in soham, well, even though the containers are much stronger, they are not stronger than a 30 wagon length train of explosives going up. It would cause a lot of damage, which you as taxpayer will have to pay for, and if done in the 'correct' area, could kill thousands.

What most people forget about explosives, is that it is not the explosion that normally kills people outside the immmediate area, it's the shockwaves from the explosion vaporising their insides.

My personnal opinion is that EWS are doing fairly well. Why were the SAS so succsesful in northern ireland, it was because they blended in. Maybe containers like that used on the 'nukes' but disguised as regular containers may help, but I can't see that happening. That idea of the train not stopping won't happen either, it's just too impractical and I can't see a frieght been re-classed as a class 1 to reduce red lights.

And as for the fence, I can see that happening but it won't stop the determand terroist with an RPG.

And is there any hard evidence that tells us that that train had explosives on it. As far as we know, the railway employee might have been mis-informed or whatever.

It's all a case of could this, could that. If you think like that, you'll kill yourself. And one of those trains will cause alot of distruption in the middle east, so there's the incentive for extremists like al-Quadea(?)
 

paul1609

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Unless I want to go on a sheep spotting expedition to the Falklands for 3 years I'm not supposed to post on this subject but,
I dont think we actually have any transport ships and
Its probably an awful long time since a Royal Navy ship went to Marchwood
 

WessexWarrior

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These are explosives by definition WW, and will make mince meat of a container like that if fired at with an RPG (rocket propelled grenade).

Remember back in 1942, when that explosive train went up in soham, well, even though the containers are much stronger, they are not stronger than a 30 wagon length train of explosives going up. It would cause a lot of damage, which you as taxpayer will have to pay for, and if done in the 'correct' area, could kill thousands.

What most people forget about explosives, is that it is not the explosion that normally kills people outside the immmediate area, it's the shockwaves from the explosion vaporising their insides.

My personnal opinion is that EWS are doing fairly well. Why were the SAS so succsesful in northern ireland, it was because they blended in. Maybe containers like that used on the 'nukes' but disguised as regular containers may help, but I can't see that happening. That idea of the train not stopping won't happen either, it's just too impractical and I can't see a frieght been re-classed as a class 1 to reduce red lights.

And as for the fence, I can see that happening but it won't stop the determand terroist with an RPG.

And is there any hard evidence that tells us that that train had explosives on it. As far as we know, the railway employee might have been mis-informed or whatever.

It's all a case of could this, could that. If you think like that, you'll kill yourself. And one of those trains will cause alot of distruption in the middle east, so there's the incentive for extremists like al-Quadea(?)
But it still makes no sense. Terrorists do one of two things, usually involving a big statement, like a hostage taking or a bombing of a symbolic place, eg the Ken Bigley incident or the plots/attempted plots to blow up Tube trains, London buses or airliners. A freight train full of explosives is not an 'obvious terror target' (like the article asserts) by any means. To claim that is sensationalist bull****.

On top of that, the notion of British terrorists with RPG's is pure fantasy and completely unrealistic.

I maintain the fact that articles like this simply give these people (of which there are precious few, thankfully) ideas.
 

Derek Kaye

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I hope the reporters were later arrested for trespass!

what they don't mention is that during the second world war, one man was killed as an ammo train exploded near Bootle, Cumbria, leaving a deep crater, and one axle + wheels landed on a beach a mile away!
 

nutter

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I never said it was obvious, and terroists with RPG's is not unrealistic. All they'll have to do is get one imported from Iraq, I've seen plenty of extremists with RPG's on the telly in Iraq going up against the alliance. And sa for getting it in the contry, just land it in an unofficial location like a remote beach, how do you think alot of drugs get in.

Personally, I don't think it's an obvious target, although some terroists might have seen the article and given inspuration on a new target.

What you also need to remember is there are other terror groups out there, some which operate in the way the IRA did, go after the infrustucture, in which case, a train full of bombs would be a great target
 

westcoaster

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the two reporters are just as bad as the two lads killed tresspassers?
in the railways they use the HOT principle? (well we do anyway)

Hidden?
Obvious?
Typical?

what ppl dont see they dont care about?
what do the ppl from the mirror expect, a train full of the SAS wathching over it as it makes it's long journey from scotland? i think not.
 
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