Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Cable thieves could have caused rail chaos

By Ben Aulakh

Suspected cable thieves are being blamed for the mass disruption caused to rail passengers in the Midlands on Monday and Tuesday.

Two separate acts of vandalism on the line-side cable at in Nuneaton left thousands of passengers facing heavy delays after hundreds of trains were affected.

The suspected thieves trespass on the railway is believed to be an attempt to steal the valuable copper wire cable, used to provide power to the signalling equipment

Cross Country Trains Spokesperson Gilly Hamilton said; “We haven’t got a massive amount of details about the incident but it is quite likely it was cable theft.

“We have got lots of failsafe systems in place so everything would have been fine safety wise for passengers, but really this is quite a problem.”

On Monday the first incident happened around 4.30pm with trains only returning to normal at around 12.09am the following morning.

On Tuesday the cable was severed in the Arley area at around 2.30pm, both attacks caused delays for passengers.

Once the cable had been cut all signals on the line were put to red, halting trains in both directions.

Engineers from Network Rail then removed the damaged pieces of cable, replaced them and tested them before normal service was resumed.

Network Rail Spokesperson Rachel Blackman said, “Cables being cut and attempted cable theft is a growing problem, anything that contains copper can result in theft as it is valuable.

“But these people who trespass on the line put lives in danger and cost us millions, money we would rather put back into the railway.”

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