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"Strange signals" from the tracks alerted rail crews to a
problem, which police believed could have been potentially
catastrophic to an express train.
But as police hunt for a suspect who may have put two steel rods
across the tracks, RailCorp said today that passengers on the XPT
travelling between Melbourne and Sydney were never in danger.
The rods were placed across the track near Wagga Wagga early on
Sunday, says RailCorp, which operates the express service.
A spokeswoman refuted earlier media reports that stated the
XPT's driver had spotted the rods on the track and was forced to
bring the train to a halt.
"It was all taken care of before the XPT came anywhere near it,
so there was never any chance of anything happening to the XPT,"
"Because [the rods] were metal they were disrupting the nearby
train signals ... which were going to red, so no trains could have
passed into that section anyway because of the interference.
"The local train control at Junee were getting these strange
signals through from that area, so they sent the train controller
out to inspect the area and he found the steel rods on the track
and called the police."
Detective Acting Inspector Rod Smith said Wagga Wagga police
were investigating two incidents in which steel rods were placed
across the tracks near The Rock train station near Wagga Wagga at
12.30am and 1.15am.
Police had removed the first 1.2-metre length of steel -
allowing the XPT to pass through - and left to investigate the
When they returned they found a second, two-metre length of
steel had been placed on the tracks, and spotted a man nearby who
fled when approached.
Police are looking for a male, of thin build, 165 to 170
centimetres tall, who was wearing light brown clothing.
Inspector Smith would not comment on whether the XPT would have
been derailed had the steel rods not been discovered, but said:
"Obviously anything on the railway line has the potential to derail
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