A GO Transit train was damaged Saturday morning after striking a short track section that appears to have been deliberately laid over the rails.
It happened before 8 a.m. on the Lakeshore East line near Greenwood Avenue. One axle of the westbound train travelling to Union Station from Oshawa with about 150 people aboard derailed.
The train remained upright and no one was hurt but police estimate the train sustained between $50,000 to $100,000 in damage.
Martha Quin was on board the train and said she knew right away something was wrong.
“I just heard a loud thump,” she told CBC News. “I could smell the smoke … it was just frightening.”
Toronto police acting Staff Sgt. Terry Wray said it appears a rail section about a metre long and weighing more than 120 pounds was placed on the track deliberately.
"We've had trains strike objects object before, but nothing like this that I can remember," he said. "It's certainly a situation that could have turned deadly had the whole train derailed. There's houses all along there."
Wray said charges of mischief and criminal negligence are possible if police can find those responsible.
A chain-link fence bordering properties along that section of tracks is intended to keep trespassers out but there are gaps in the fence that allow people to use the tracks as a shortcut.
The incident delayed trains in both directions for several hours.