Tokoroa senior constable Tony Andrews says it is sheer luck that nobody was hurt or killed after 3 kilometres of screw spikes that secure the Kinleith railway track were removed.
In what Mr Andrews described as a "highly dangerous theft", 3km of rail fasteners were removed from a section of the track between Bridge St and Campbell Rd in Tokoroa.
The theft had weakened the support structure of the rail line, which is mainly used to cart products to and from Kinleith Pulp and Paper Mill.
KiwiRail discovered the theft after a routine check and informed police who believe the spike theft is likely to have happened in December.
The line has since been resecured.
"It is quite scary to think that a fatality could have occurred while people were waiting for the train to pass on Bridge St.
"A fully laden train with logs on it could have quite easily toppled causing fatalities to those waiting in their vehicle and parts of the residential area," Mr Andrews said.
"It is important that we find those responsible for this to stop this happening again."
Anyone with related information can pass it on confidentially to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Mr Andrews can also be contacted directly at the Tokoroa police station.
- Waikato Times