Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dozens injured as boy wreaks havoc by playing trains with city's trams

Received the following news article via email with no date and no citation or reference to the original source. Date of email was 1/11/08, so assume the incident was on or before that date.

Dozens injured as boy wreaks havoc by playing trains with city's trams

A POLISH schoolboy who turned a city's tram network into a giant toy by maneuvering rolling stock using a TV-style remote control has been arrested after he caused chaos on the public transport system.

Adam Dabrowski, 14, described by teachers as a model pupil and an electronics genius, hacked into the public transport network in Lodz to change the track points derailing at least four trams and leaving dozens injured.

The teenager had also equipped himself with a hand- drawn map of city tram junctions.

He told police in Lodz in central Poland he had changed the points on tram tracks across the city for a prank. However, in one incident alone 12 people were injured.

The giant train set started operating at 1pm on Tuesday when a city tram driver tried to steer his vehicle on to right hand tracks, and found himself helpless to prevent it swerving to the left instead, seemingly of its own accord.

The rear wagon then swung off the rails and crashed into another passing tram, hurling screaming passengers to the floor.

Transport employees said they knew immediately that someone outside their staff had caused the accident.

Miroslaw Micor, spokesman for Lodz police, said: "He studied the trams and the tracks for a long time and then built a device that looked like a TV remote control and used it to maneuver the trams and the tracks."

Mr. Micor added: "He had converted the TV control into a device capable of controlling all the junctions on the line and wrote in the pages of a school exercise book the best junctions to move trams around and what signals to change.

"He treated it like any other schoolboy might a giant train set – but it was lucky nobody was killed.

"Four trams were derailed, and others had to make emergency stops that left passengers hurt. He clearly did not think about the consequences of his actions."

Dabrowski is to face charges of endangering public safety in a special juvenile court.