Train services between Didcot, Oxfordshire and Swindon, in South West England, were delayed for an hour on Tuesday morning when two cows were fatally struck by a train.
It was gathered that the Great Western Railway (GWR) train hit the cows at Uffington at 07:56am just as Network Rail said British Transport Police (BTP) attended the scene to investigate a “deliberate act of vandalism”.
According to a BTP spokeswoman, it is believed that a nearby fence of a farm near the railway track was damaged, causing the cattle to roam free.
She said: “Sadly, two cows were killed in the incident. “Inquiries are ongoing to establish exactly how the cattle came to be on the tracks, but at this early stage, it is believed a nearby fence had been damaged.”
A Twitter post with images by GWR said: “The offending animals can be seen here roaming the tracks, we are working with Network Rail to get them away from the lines so trains can start moving again.
The cows were eventually cleared from the track around 11am this morning but severe delays continue to affect transport in the area.
Conversations that followed the tweets by GWR, revealed that the case of cattle wandering on to railway lines in the area is a perennial one due to carelessness by dairy farmers.
“This has happened before on this line. What are the penalties that the farmer(s) face when this happens? It’s not fun for us and I doubt it’s much fun for the cows, either,” tweeted Erin Gill via @erinjacqgill.