Derby train wrecked

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A TRAIN was wrecked during scenes of drunken violence as Sunderland fans made their way to last night’s FA cup clash derby.

Passengers on the 5.50pm service between Sunderland and Middlesbrough were taken off carriages at Hartlepool after a window was kicked out.

Light fittings were also ripped from the train’s roof, alarm cords pulled, seats torn up and the floor urinated on.

Two railway staff are said to have been injured in the incident, which happened at 6.45pm, leaving one needing hospital treatment.

Police restrained some fans as tempers threatened to spill over.

Several hundred people were reported to have been travelling on the Northern Rail service and then transferred to another train originally destined for Newcastle.

Dozens of police, including British Transport Police and Cleveland officers, were involved in tackling the disturbance.

Another train was called in to take the passengers to Teesside when it is understood further damage was caused to the carriages.

Superintendent Glenn Gudgeon, district commander for Hartlepool, attended the incident with his officers.

He said: “This was an extremely frightening incident for members of the general public.

“When you see hundreds of young men running around in one location and you don’t know what is going on it can be startling and frightening.

“The vast majority of fans were decent people and it was all down to a few drunken individuals ruining it for everyone.

“The incident had the potential to be serious and also have an impact on the rest of the town as it tied up resources.

“A few people had to be restrained but officers did not make any arrests and we got the fans on another train and on their to Middlesbrough.”

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said extra carriages had been put on the service.

She added: “When the service arrived at Hartlepool at around about 6.30pm one of the windows had been put out in the rear carriage and obviously the service could not continue.

“We took the passengers from the train onto the platform to move them onto another train.

“This second train left Hartlepool at around 7.40pm and arrived in Middlesbrough around 8pm.

“During the time the passengers were on the platform at Hartlepool, there was some disturbance and one of our staff members was injured and required hospital treatment before being released last night.”

Other fans are said to have called taxis to reach Boro in time for kick off.

The incident happened despite police calls for fans heading down to Middlesbrough for the match to use coaches laid on from the Stadium of Light to the Riverside Stadium.

Cleveland Police have confirmed nine people were arrested in connection with last night’s fixture.

Two men invaded the pitch as the game entered its 89th minute, just moments before Sunderland’s second and winning goal was scored in extra time.