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Vandals are believed to have deliberately caused a train crash on a service heading to Gravesend by placing a metre-long lump of metal on the railway track.

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The 8.52pm Charing Cross service to Gravesend was travelling at up to 60mph between Lee and Mottingham on Wednesday (13) when it hit the metal causing a fire to break out underneath the train.

More than 200 people had to be evacuated from the train .

The blaze damaged the first coach in the eight carriage train and crews from Downham, Lee Green and Eltham attended the incident.

Detective Inspector Ashley Cooper said: “We’re keen to talk to anyone who may have information about the incident, particularly two men who were seen running from the scene.

“If you were in the area at the time, I urge you to come forward as you may be able to help our investigation.”

He continued: “The remains of the object will undergo forensic tests as part of the British Transport Police investigation into the incident.

“This apparent act of vandalism could have had very serious consequences. Luckily no one was hurt and the train remained on the tracks.”

If you have any information about the incident, ring British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40, quoting incident reference 630, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Were you on the train? Get in touch on 0208 477 3758.

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