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16 Aug, 2007 07:30

Security beefed up in wake of Russian train bomb

Moscow police have raised security alert levels following the explosion that derailed a passenger train on Monday. Tighter security measures have also been introduced on Moscow's underground system.

The Prosecutor General's Office is checking all possible theories behind the Moscow to St. Petersburg train bombing on Monday. They say they have a photofit of one of the suspects.

The locomotive of the derailed 'Nevsky Express' train has been delivered to a special laboratory for further examination by experts.

Meanwhile, 19 people still remain in hospital following the derailment of the train on Monday. Normal rail services have now been completely restored between the two cities.

The President of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, told a news conference in Moscow that the company's losses from the incident could reach 200 MLN roubles (around $US 8 MLN).

Mr Yakunin called for tougher penalties for unwarranted interruptions of railway services.

The Russian Railways has already stepped up security measures following Monday's train derailment. Surveillance systems and security alarm systems are being checked along the routes.

“We haven't spoken about this publicly until now but I can tell you that a month ago, on July 24, while checking the tracks at this same railroad line, we discovered a wedge stuck on to one of the rail tracks. I believe I don't have to explain what might have happened had a passenger train hit this wedge.

Was it just malicious mischief, or terrorism, or a test-run by terrorists? I am confident that law enforcement agencies will find this out.

In order to fight terrorism, specialised measures should be applied, and not the ones we use to provide security on the railroad. As for our goal we must make sure the railways, the cars and locomotives are fully operational and reliable,” Vladimir Yakunin said.

The Nevsky Express was just approaching a bridge, travelling at a speed of about 180 kilometres per hour when there an explosion occurred. The rain continued for another several hundred metres before it derailed and several carriages overturned. 60 people were injured and 800 metres of track was damaged in the incident.

Officials believe an improvised bomb was left on the rail track.

The Prosecutor General's Office has launched an investigation on terrorist charges.