POLICE are hunting a group of racists who turned a train journey into a trip from hell.
British Transport Police (BTP) investigators are appealing for help to trace the group of 20 men, who hurled insults at two Asian women and other passengers.
The ordeal began at York, where the thugs boarded a Grand Central service from Kings Cross to Sunderland, and continued for more than an hour, until the train reached Hartlepool.
Police say conversations overheard by others indicated they were from the East Durham area.
Sergeant Nigel Ashworth said: “Throughout the journey they shouted racial abuse at two Asian females.
“They also abused other passengers on the service, including the parents of a child who contacted police to complain.
“We have launched an investigation to attempt to identify those responsible and are studying CCTV at the station.
“Racist abuse of any sort is unacceptable, but the nature of the insults levelled at passengers was despicable.
“Everyone has the right to travel without fear of abuse or threatening behaviour, and when that behaviour is further exacerbated by racist undertones, our stance becomes firmer still.
“BTP and the wider rail industry will not tolerate any form of racism on the rail network and we will do everything in our power to locate those responsible.”
The men boarded the train at 6.40pm on Saturday, June 18. Images from the CCTV are to be circulated to Durham police to help identify the yobs.
Sgt Ashworth added: “I would like to appeal to anyone who may have been travelling on this busy service and who may have witnessed the incident, or seen the group of men, to contact us.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact BTP on 0800 40 50 40 ,quoting incident 532 of 18/06/2011, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.