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27 March 1997 Edition

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Bombs disrupt British rail network

The effects of Wednesday morning's double bomb attack at Wilmslow in Cheshire, England were felt many miles away from the site of the two explosions.

Two mainline railway stations, Euston and Kings Cross in London suffered what a railway spokesperson described as ``major disruption'' following the cancellation and suspension of services to both Glasgow and Edinburgh. The entire eastern and western rail links between the English capital and Scotland were disrupted as the result of two small explosive devices.

With a simultaneously timed bomb alert on the main east coast line at Doncaster in Yorkshire, north-south rail traffic was brought to a sudden and unexpected halt just before dawn. Economic observers later suggested that Britains freight traffic had been severely disrupted as had other communications and industries using the mainline arteries. They believe that the financial cost is expected to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Cheshire Chief Constable Mervyn Jones declared himself ``very worried'' nine months after the huge IRA bomb which destroyed the commercial heart of Manchester.

The sequence of events on Wednesday was as follows:

5.30am - Two coded telephone warnings to a private individual living close to Wilmslow railway station and a local hospital.

5.31am - Two coded calls made regarding a bomb alert in Doncaster railway station. It is sealed off by South Yorkshire police, as is Doncaster's city centre.

6.30am - First of two bombs explode at Wilmslow at a signal relay cabinet junction box.

7.00am - Second explosive device detonates 200 yards along the line which it breaks. Wilmslow police evacuate their own police building and begin frantic operations from a nearby supermarket carpark.

Rail traffic between Crewe and Manchester blocked, with Stockport traffic also severely disrupted.

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