Monday, July 11, 2011

French Freight Train Targeted in Hold Up

Southern France Goes Wild West
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – French police are investigating the robbery of a Euro Cargo Rail (ECR) freight train in what is being described as a "modern-day stagecoach robbery". In a scene more reminiscent of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid a gang clad in ski masks blocked the railway line on Thursday night between Marseille and Miramas on the French south coast, forcing a local passenger train and a following freight train to stop.

The gang, estimated at about twenty with some reported to be armed with iron bars, used shopping trolleys and planks to block the tracks, damaging the passenger train when it hit them. None of the twenty-six passengers aboard was injured. They then boarded the following ECR train.

According to ECR the gang then raided the train’s carriages and made off with unspecified items. The company state that the train was carrying “consumer goods”.

David-Olivier Reverdy of the Police Union said that: "Attacks on trains aren't new, but it is a pretty rare phenomenon. It's worthy of a stagecoach attack in the Wild West!"

The robbery is the latest such event to occur in the Marseille area. In June 2008 thieves stopped a train with a container of rubble and made off with computer equipment.

The French railway union has called for increased protection for railways and workers, saying: "Thursday's robbery was a sign that the railway authority was not investing enough in the security of its sites."