Deliberate attack on rail infrastructure

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cuccir

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A very interesting story here, I'm guessing it won't go down well in these parts.

An anarchist group has claimed responsibility for deliberate attacks on rail infrastructure last week.

Shiv Malik in The Guardian said:
Anarchists claim responsibility for railway signalling sabotage in Bristol

An anarchist organisation has claimed responsibility for two attacks on railway signalling in Bristol which caused severe delays and the cancellation of services.

British transport police and Network Rail have confirmed that signalling cable was destroyed on Tuesday morning in two separate incidents of arson which caused "extensive damage" and substantial delays to passengers.

The group – calling itself the Informal Anarchist Federation – has warned of further "guerrilla" attacks and sabotage to "hurt the national image and paralyse the economy however we can". On Wednesday the group posted a statement on the Indymedia Bristol website saying it had "struck two points on the railway routes into Bristol", adding that members had "lifted concrete slabs running alongside the tracks and burned out the signalling cables found in the trench underneath".

The group said the points on the track had been chosen to target employees of the Ministry of Defence, "military industry companies" such as Raytheon, Thales, HP and QinetiQ, and the "corporate hub of Bristol". It promised further attacks, saying: "Finance, judicial, communications, military and transport infrastructure will continue to be targets of the new generation of urban, low-intensity warfare."

It described Tuesday's actions as guerrilla activity and said it had "no inhibition" about using such methods again. Characterising the Olympics as a "spectacle of wealth" in a time of austerity, it ended the statement saying it wanted "civil war" and that anarchy was "unavoidable".

Network Rail said that in the first attack, discovered at 4:15am by a passing train driver near Parson Street station in south Bristol, cabling was dug up and wrapped in material which was then set alight.

The second attack was spotted at 11:37am near Patchway railway station in the far north of the city.

The train operator First Great Western said normal services had not fully resumed until the following morning.

Transport police say that the two incidents "may or may not be connected". They are appealing for further information.

Network Rail and First Great Western described this type of deliberate attack on railway lines as "very rare"; most vandals target trains or infrastructure that they can sell for scrap.

Detective Chief Inspector John Pyke said: "We are aware of a statement posted on the internet in which a group is claiming responsibility for these incidents. At the moment, this is one of a number of lines of inquiry officers are investigating. This was completely irresponsible behaviour and we will do everything possible to trace those responsible and bring them to justice."

Anyone with any information is asked to call British transport police on 0800 40 50 40, or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
I don't have any time for anarchists - I think their idiocy discredits a lot of legitimate left-wing political protest. And actions such as this are idiotic - attacking rail network hampers the lives of individuals and threatens the safety of staff and passengers, while having little to no affect on the corporations/organisations with whom they claim to have a problem.
 
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SprinterMan

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When I first read that I thought it was a reference to what NXEA did to the GEML :P

But no, these people are not anarchists, just some bored spotty youths with nothing to do and little morals, trying to feel important.
 

Minilad

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I am the anti-christ. I am an anarchist. Don't know what I want but I know how to get it. I wanna destroy the passer by. Coz I wanna be anarchy.

Find them. Bill them. Or should I say bill rich mommy and daddy.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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They say that they were targeting associated parts and suppliers to the British defence industry, especially in the Bristol area. They further state that they wish to foster civil war and that anarchy is unavoidable.

What section of society in Britain do these people represent ? This is the 21st century. Why not offer their services to the Free Syrian Army...where they may indulge themselves to their hearts delight.

Does anyone not imagine that groups such as this are known to the security bodies in charge of these matters, as was the case with the Animal Defence League. All this will ensure is an even greater level of surveillance on this group and associated groups.
 

Muzer

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Can't they just get a job :roll:.
Most likely no. It's hard for young people to get a job these days, what with youth unemployment being high as it is, even the more traditionally "entry level" jobs are looking for people with more experience, what with unemployment in general being high, they can certainly find it without having to resort to young people. It's worse for people in villages with poor public transport connections, as cars are very expensive to insure.

I'm not defending the people, btw, it IS a moronic, very irresponsible thing to do, but "get a job" isn't the answer to problems when it's virtually impossible these days.
 

daikilo

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Anarchists can have their place - but not here, this is just stupidity, not anarchy <D
Knowingly and deliberately setting fire to key safety equipment potentially endangering human life is pre-meditated manslaughter. This is anarchy. Death or life imprisonment.

You may think this is extreme. Go back and check what might have been the consequences if the event got outside the safety case. No, I am not in favour of safety cases built to withstand the lunacy of anarchists.
 

swj99

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Someone called Gradiate made a good point.
Love to see what they would do if they got assaulted, after all they can't call the police as they believe in Anarchy.
Whenever I see the word anarchist, I immediately have a mental image of a snotty nosed Rik from The Young Ones. Which in itself is enough to kill any credibility the anarchist movement might have had.
 

Lampshade

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"Anarchist" nowadays tends to mean spoilt rich kid; the sort of people who 'occupied' St Paul's protesting against capitalism one minute yet sitting in Starbucks on their iPhones the next :roll:
 

142094

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Sounds like frustrated students to me.
Tar and brush come to mind. There are quite a few students on this forum, and many others who work on the railways and wouldn't think of doing something as stupid as what those idiots are doing.
 

LE Greys

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Quite possibly they're just attention-seeking. I have no idea what really happened, but they could be 'taking responsibility' for a fire caused by a short-circuit in corroded cables for all I know. It happens a lot.

<EDIT> Not fires and short-circuits luckily.
 

ushawk

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Wouldnt surprise me if they were attention seeking and claiming responsibility despite someone else has attempted it. Wonder what they would of said if one of their members got electrocuted and died.

This didnt really get much attention outside of the South West, so they arent very good at whatever they were trying to do.
 

BestWestern

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Signal issues are so widespread now that this will hardly raise an eyebrow. I do wonder exactly what it is that these desperate morons are actually working towards, once they crush all capitalism and authority. No jobs, no business, no law or order and so on. Is there actually some kind of anarchist's utopian world or are they too thick to work out an end product of their actions?! Sadly it seems to have become trendy amongst certain sections of society where intelligence is thin on the ground.
 

Schnellzug

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Interesting how some (by no means all) of the comments say things like "About time too!", "Stick it to da Man!"
Nothing like reinforcing stereotypes about readers of the Guardian, is there...

On the subject of Anarchy, it's one of those ideas (much like Socialism is in the U.S., or Democracy is in most places, particularly this country) (or indeed Christianity) that people very often get pretty much wrong. In fact, no less a respectable figure than J.R.R. Tolkien once said this:
"My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)—or to 'unconstitutional' Monarchy"

- the 'Philosophically understood' referring to this definition.
As usual, it's just used as an excuse by twerps to shout "Smash the System!!".
 
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Urban Gateline

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Tar and brush come to mind. There are quite a few students on this forum, and many others who work on the railways and wouldn't think of doing something as stupid as what those idiots are doing.
Very true, I'm a frustrated student (can't wait to finish Uni) but I also work for SWT so I'd take offence to being referred to as an anarchist as I'd never hurt the Railways! :o
 

Holly

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... I do wonder exactly what it is that these desperate [crackpots] are actually working towards, once they crush all capitalism and authority. No jobs, no business, no law or order and so on. Is there actually some kind of anarchist's utopian world or are they too thick to work out an end product of their actions?! Sadly it seems to have become trendy amongst certain sections of society where intelligence is thin on the ground.
Whatever problems these people have it is not insufficiency of intelligence.
Unabomber Ted Kaczynski was one of the most brilliant mathematicians of all time, but turned in truly horrible directions.

My guess, only a guess, is that is it is frustration of being taught skills but denied all legitimate outlets for them; together with a feeling that the "system" is so weighted against people like them that the system is the enemy. When you feel you are waging a war it is common not to see any further than how most effectively to damage your perceived enemy in the short term.

There seems to be a belief somehow that if most people become wealthier then everyone will be happier. Experience shows this is simply not so. Not even close. Against all common sense there may even be a negative correlation (on a broad society basis) in the real world!

The best approach to this particular railway safety issue would be to get more workers out walking along the right of way and keeping an eye on things in addition to their other duties. Of course putting lots of relatively low paid railway workers out on the track is contrary to increasing profit. Best in the sense of best for the greater society.
 

Gwenllian2001

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My guess, only a guess, is that is it is frustration of being taught skills but denied all legitimate outlets for them ...

> When you feel you are waging a war it is common not to see any further than how most effectively to damage your perceived enemy in the short term.
I believe that arson is a skill without legitimate outlets and your next point perfectly illustrates George W and Blair's view of the world. Neither has any justification. These people are simply anti social hooligans who should be locked up.
 

6Gman

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The best approach to this particular railway safety issue would be to get more workers out walking along the right of way and keeping an eye on things in addition to their other duties. Of course putting lots of relatively low paid railway workers out on the track is contrary to increasing profit. Best in the sense of best for the greater society.
Surely the best approach to this "safety issue" (and given that signalling is based on safe-side failure, I'm not sure the safety angle is that significant) is for people not to commit acts opf vandalism?

And lets not forget that every extra person walking the lineside, however well-trained anmd attentive, is another potential staff fatality.
 

BestWestern

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Whatever problems these people have it is not insufficiency of intelligence.
Unabomber Ted Kaczynski was one of the most brilliant mathematicians of all time, but turned in truly horrible directions.

My guess, only a guess, is that is it is frustration of being taught skills but denied all legitimate outlets for them; together with a feeling that the "system" is so weighted against people like them that the system is the enemy. When you feel you are waging a war it is common not to see any further than how most effectively to damage your perceived enemy in the short term.

There seems to be a belief somehow that if most people become wealthier then everyone will be happier. Experience shows this is simply not so. Not even close. Against all common sense there may even be a negative correlation (on a broad society basis) in the real world!

The best approach to this particular railway safety issue would be to get more workers out walking along the right of way and keeping an eye on things in addition to their other duties. Of course putting lots of relatively low paid railway workers out on the track is contrary to increasing profit. Best in the sense of best for the greater society.
I have no doubt that there was quite probably a time when the anarchy 'movement' involved fairly clever people with what they felt was some sort of halfway intelligible point to what they were doing. Unfortunately, anarchy has since become just the latest trendy 'in' thing among certain groups of people who really aren't very clever at all, and who see it as an opportunity to go out and misbehave whist bleating on about 'respect' at the same time - a bit like certain factions of the animal rights movement for example. I presume you also feel that many of those looting shops and brainlessly smashing things up during the national riots were just innocent victims? Presumably arson is a 'skill' possessed by most anarchists.

If these people are so very intelligent I'm curious as to how they felt that delaying a few trains carrying innocent members of the public going to Bristol, by causing a fault which would very obviously then be fixed as soon as humanly possible, was likely to cause any noticeable waves in the world economy?!
 

Nym

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Also, if they were that intelligent they'd realise that QinetiQ and Rathelon's staff drive into work, none of their sites being in Bristol. The nearest being either Boscombe Down or Malvern for QinetiQ (This is public knowledge as to the location of their sites)
 

Holly

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I believe that arson is a skill without legitimate outlets and your next point perfectly illustrates George W and Blair's view of the world. Neither has any justification. These people are simply anti social hooligans who should be locked up.
Well, I agree with sentiments behind those points. Though the American experience teaches us that locking people up wholesale is not the most effective way to punish and remedy. You just end up with a society where far far too many people are incarcerated for things that they can barely remember.

What I particularly take issue with is the suggestion that these criminals do these things because they are dimwits. Rotten people they are, dimwits they are not.
Actually, bright people are more likely to get caught up in a destructive tailspin that arises through force of circumstances.
Less emphasis on the modern idea of "success" and more emphasis on improving the lives of everyone is what is needed.

Again, simply employing more people on the ground whose duties include "being personally safe and generally keeping a lookout for untoward things" is what will help society. Tempting as it may be to respond by hardening the signalling systems and making it more villain-proof (more in-cab stuff?) that will do no good in the long run, the bad guys will just evolve their techniques.
 

Nym

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making it more villain-proof (more in-cab stuff?) that will do no good in the long run, the bad guys will just evolve their techniques.
Hit reply before reading the end of your post there, but to add some meat to that argument, if we move to entirely in cab signalling using GSM-R to transmit commands with no track side equipment, it's actually much easier to disrupt and much harder to repair.

I'm not going into details because this is a public forum, but trust me, it's easy, well, it would be for me anyway.
 

bus man

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"Anarchist" nowadays tends to mean spoilt rich kid; the sort of people who 'occupied' St Paul's protesting against capitalism one minute yet sitting in Starbucks on their iPhones the next :roll:
I agree with the above I was about to put the same.

One thing that we need to be aware of is enthusiasts in the bristol area need to make sure they are prepared to explain what they are doing as there could be increased checks by btp and railtrack but also they need to be alert and contact police if they see anything that looks like another attack.
 

LE Greys

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Please explain an example of anarchy you think is quite acceptable.
He did say 'have their place'. I'd argue that that would be either an 'approved school' (or whatever they're called now), an asylum or Wormwood Scrubbs.

However, I stand by the position that this was just a publicity stunt by 'claiming responsibility' for something they didn't do.
 

tsr

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I'm not going into details because this is a public forum, but trust me, it's easy, well, it would be for me anyway.
Indeed, but would these particular "types" (are there categorical definitions? I doubt it, but anyway...) of anarchists be bothered? If they did set fire to these cables, it does indeed sound like they are just vandals who are also stupid enough to be attention seeking. If not, then they are just idiots anyway. Anything to do with whether they are rich kids or students (or any other given demographic) or not... I don't think any of us should seriously be speculating on that, or need to, but I am emphatically not criticising any particular viewpoint expressed on this thread, because I don't want to start an argument.
 
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