Network Rail has condemned vandals who delayed essential workers by throwing a metal light case onto electrified tracks in Southampton.

The company has given details of the incident to the British Transport Police (BTP) which caused damage to a train and delayed passengers who were travelling to Southampton on Sunday 7 June.

The driver of the 1642 South Western Railway train to Southampton reported hitting an object on the tracks in the St Denys area of the city at 1735.

The item, which is believed to be a lamp case from an external spotlight was thrown onto the track. It caused damage to the train’s shoegear which supplies power to the train and delayed 22 subsequent trains for almost nine and a half hours.

The incident, which was caught on CCTV, is being investigated by BTP. Anyone with information is advised to contact BTP through the 61016 text service or freephone 0800 405040 quoting incident reference 281 of 07/06/20.

Mark Killick, route director at Network Rail Wessex, said: “This reckless act caused delays to passengers – many of whom are critical workers – and damage to the railway and train. Fortunately, no one was injured.

“I would urge anyone with information to come forward and contact the British Transport Police.”

Inspector Andy Jackson from the British Transport Police who is embedded on the Wessex route, said: “This is a mindless act of vandalism by the persons involved, resulting in damage to the tracks and the train and passengers being trapped on trains.

“Obstructing a train by either throwing or placing objects on the line is a very serious offence carrying a maximum of two years in prison. We’ll review CCTV of the incident and will actively pursue those responsible to ensure they are held accountable for their actions.”

Network Rail works closely with the British Transport Police to keep the railway secure and vandals and trespassers and will be prosecuted. Trespassing on the railway is illegal, so when Network Rail are notified of trespassers, all trains in the area are stopped to ensure that everyone is kept safe.

The public can also help to keep the railway safe by contacting Network Rail’s 24-hour helpline on 03457 114141 if they spot something unsafe.