Northern Railway trains have come to a halt after reports of someone 'shooting at trains'.
The train operating company released a brief statement on Monday evening (22 May) confirming that the police are ‘dealing with an incident near the railway between Leeds and Kirkstall Forge’.
The unconfirmed incident, which has been reported by passengers as ‘some idiot shooting an air rifle at passing train drivers’ has led to all lines being blocked and delays of ‘up to 45 minutes’.
Northern Railway’s Twitter account posted: “Due to the police dealing with an incident near the railway between Leeds and Kirkstall Forge all lines are blocked.
“Train services running through these stations will be delayed by up to 45 minutes.”
And passengers have taken to social media to share alleged details about the incident.
John Gallagher, associate professor at the University of Leeds, shared two photos showing shattered windows.
Gallagher’s tweet reads: “Train home stopped between Leeds and Kirkstall Forge because "somebody is shooting at trains. "After a few minutes waiting we started moving again. We picked up speed and shortly after that heard a loud crack. This was the window further down my carriage."
University of Leeds research assistant, Clare Mawson, tweeted: “My train got cancelled tonight, after a significant delay we set off only to stop again - why, because some idiot was shooting an air rifle at passing train drivers. Thank you to the railway staff who potentially stopped a disaster, hope you are all okay. @northernassist.”
And ITV journalist, James Webster, said: "Latest from our driver is that @BTP can’t find the person who was shooting an air rifle at trains through Kirkstall.
"They’ve had dogs out searching and they are nowhere to be found. Could be another 15 minutes before signallers get the all clear to restart delayed trains."
Another passenger posted: “@LeedsNews sat on a stopped train for 20 between Kirkstall Forge and Leeds stations because there is a man with an air rifle shooting at trains and passengers - according to our conductor.
"Police have asked that no trains pull in to Leeds."
While another traveller tweeted: “On the train home from Leeds. Being held near Armley prison. All trains have stopped because 'some is shooting at trains'.
In a follow-up tweet, the passenger added: “The train was shot. Two windows behind us. Shattered glass.”
A tweet with a picture showing what appears to be two holes shared by the same user reads: “Nobody was injured - photo from Kirkstall Forge once the train stopped.”
The Northern Railway website shows ‘Severe Disruption’ warnings for the following routes:
· Saltburn – Darlington – Bishop Auckland
· Morecambe – Lancaster/Preston
· Carlisle – Settle – Leeds
· Morecambe – Lancaster – Leeds
· Bradford Forster Square – Leeds
· Ilkley – Leeds
· Leeds – Skipton
· Buxton – Manchester Piccadilly
The British Transport Police told LADbible: “We’re investigating a series of incidents that resulted in damage being caused to trains in the Kirkstall area of Leeds on Monday 22 May.
"No passengers or rail staff were injured and officers’ enquiries are ongoing. They are keen to speak to anyone who was in the vicinity of Kirkstall on the afternoon or evening of 22 May that may have information that could assist their investigation.
"The public can expect to see additional BTP officers patrolling the area following the incidents."
Witnesses, or anyone with information, can contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 403 of 22/05/23
LADbible has contacted West Yorkshire Police and Northern Railway for comment.