November 27, 2009: Mysterious train derailment in Russia

On November 27, 2009 the Moscow-St Petersburg Nevsky Express crashed near the town of Bologoye, killing 25 and wounding another 63.

BOLOGOYE, RUSSIA – Preventative maintenance on critical infrastructure is important to save lives: terrorists are also a challenge.

In all the cases I worked on at CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) over the decades one of the strangest was the train plot of 2013. Two jihadis, Chiheb Esseghaier (a brilliant student) and Raed Jaser (not so accomplished), planned to derail a passenger train traveling from New York City to Toronto as it passed through the Niagara corridor (approximately 100 km from Toronto). While it was uncertain how they were going to accomplish the feat, they were serious.

Luckily for all concerned, we were onto this pair from an early stage and had constant surveillance on them. As a result, there never was any real threat (not that they knew they were being followed). The pair was arrested and are now serving a long sentence at one of Her Majesty’s fine penal institutions.

In today’s featured attack, the terrorists got lucky.

On this day in 2009

The Moscow-St Petersburg Nevsky Express crashed near the town of Bologoye, 350 km from Moscow. In all, 25 people were killed and 63 injured. Thankfully, of the train’s 13 carriages, transporting 661 passengers, only four of them were damaged.

Witnesses heard a loud slap before the accident. All of this could point to a possible act of terrorism.

Unnamed Russian security official

There are those who said the crash could just as well have been caused by poor maintenance (this is Russia after all). I think we could resolve this if we could answer just one question: where were Chiheb Essegahier and Raed Jaser on that day?

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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