Vandals have struck at Hyde North station in Manchester, causing extensive damage over two nights.
The station, which had been closed since September when services were suspended due to staff shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, is due to reopen on Monday 26 October. However, staff are now facing a large and costly clear-up operation after waiting shelters were smashed, the glass on the front of the ticket machine shattered and the ticket machine itself set on fire.
Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “It’s hard to understand why anyone would want to damage so many facilities that exist to provide a service for local people.
“We are looking forward to the return of regular services at the station, but our customers are now going to be greeted by a station that is far from looking its best.
“We will be working hard throughout the rest of this work to repair as much of the damage as possible, and I am calling on the local community to help us out by being our eyes and ears.”
He added: “We’ve reported the vandalism to British Transport Police (BTP) and will do all we can to support their investigation – but I’m sure there are others who could help too.
“I’m certain someone will know who is responsible for the damage and I’m calling on them to get in touch with BTP – we’re offering a £500 reward for information that leads to a conviction. The damage will cost thousands of pounds to repair and I want to make sure we all play our part to stop it from happening again.”
Inspector Adam Swallow, of British Transport Police, said: “We are investigating a number of incidents of vandalism and criminal damage at Hyde station.
“BTP takes criminal damage on the rail network extremely seriously and we are increasing high visibility patrols in the area. Blatant vandalism like this makes people fearful of their surroundings and costs the railway industry thousands of pounds to clean up.
“Unfortunately the costs associated with the clear up and fixing the damage caused is ultimately covered by the fare-paying passenger, which is not acceptable.”