A high speed train running from London to Cheltenham Spa was forced to stop earlier today after colliding with a pack of foxhounds in Wiltshire.
The driver of the service, operated by train company First Great Western, noticed the hounds on the line accompanied by a huntsman at around 1550hrs this afternoon, just east of the Sapperton Railway Tunnel between Swindon and Gloucester. Another train – running from Cheltenham Spa to London – was cancelled and others were subject to twenty minute delays. Trains on this stretch of track often travel up to 90mph.
At least one hound was killed but the number injured is unknown, and this incident comes almost exactly a year after hounds were killed on the same main line.
A spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports described the incident as “typical of the disregard that hunts show the public”. “Quite apart from the horrific way in which at least one hound has been killed, it shows a terrific disregard for the rail-travelling public and for their safety. For a huntsman to be stood with twenty hounds next to a railway line beggars belief,” he said.
It was unclear which hunt was involved, and none had admitted responsibility. The League called on the hunt to own up and apologise to the public. “People are paying enough for rail fares without having to suffer delays and inconvenience caused by a few ignorant hunters,” said the League’s spokesman.