A STONE thrown at a train travelling through North Tyneside on Sunday smashed its windscreen and only just missed its driver.
The yob attack took place at around 3.30pm near Wiltshire Drive in Wallsend, just north of the Heaton rail depot.
The stone hit the 2pm Edinburgh-London East Coast train.
Police suspect a gang of teenagers seen nearby may have been responsible.
Sergeant Andrew Cook, investigating officer at the British Transport Police, said: “The stone smashed through the windscreen.
“The driver was extremely lucky not to have been injured.
“This was an extremely foolish and dangerous act, which resulted in a train being damaged.
“The driver saw five youths hiding in the bushes close to where the incident took place who we believe may have been responsible.
“They have been described as approximately 15 years old.
“Three of the youths were male. One was wearing a Newcastle United football top, the others blue tops.
“The other two members of the group were female, and both wore grey tops.
“Throwing a stone at a fast-moving train is an incredibly irresponsible thing to do, and we have stepped up patrols in the area to try to catch those responsible.
“We urge those who think that throwing stones and other objects at trains is fun to think about the consequences of their actions, which in this case could have been much worse.
“We are conducting local inquiries into the incident, including speaking to residents and members of railway staff.
“I’d ask anyone who has any information that could help our investigation to come forward.”
East Coast spokesman John Gelson said: “The consequences of this irresponsible act could have been very serious.
“It was only by chance that our driver was not injured when the stone broke the train’s windscreen.
“East Coast is fully supporting the transport police in their efforts to catch those responsible.
“We appeal to anyone who saw youths in the area of Wallsend close to the East Coast main line to come forward and help the police with their inquiries.”
Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call the police on 0800 405040 quoting 295 of 09/09/2012.