Tuesday 10 May 2011
TRUE COST OF CABLE THEFT REVEALED AS ANGLIA RAIL PASSENGERS SUFFER
- Nearly £43m lost in just three years
- 52% jump in attacks in past year - averaging over six per day
- Millions of passengers affected and delayed by more than 16,000 hours over the past three years
Cable thieves are ruining the lives of millions of passengers and costing the railway industry some £15m a year as they target the railway for metal to sell as scrap.
Criminals are targeting the cables which control vital rail infrastructure such as signals and points, causing delays to tens of thousands of trains and millions of people.
Figures released by Network Rail today reveal a £43m cost to this crime-spree over the past three years, resulting in over 16,000 hours of delay.
In the Anglia region during this period there have been:
- 179 incidents of cable theft
- 6,193 delayed trains
- 603 cancelled trains
- 73,940 delay minutes – or 1,232 hours
- £4.5m lost through compensation costs for delays and disruption
Andrew Munden, Network Rail route director for Anglia, said: “These criminal acts have to stop. Every day passengers and essential freight deliveries upon which our economy relies are being delayed by thieves looking to make a quick buck at our expense.
“I cannot over-emphasise just how serious these crimes are. Cable thieves deny passengers the service they rightly expect and, through the massive cost to the industry, deny everyone improvements to rail services.
“We are doing everything we can to protect the railway and will continue to work closely with British Transport Police and other rail partners to do everything in our power to deter thieves and bring those who attack our network to justice.”
Nationwide in 2010/11:
- £16.5m was lost through cable theft
- Nearly 1,000 individual attacks on essential rail systems – a 52% jump on the previous year
- Passenger services delayed by more than 6,000 hours
- BTP recorded 3,000 crimes
- BTP made more than 900 arrests
Alan Pacey, Assistant Chief Constable of British Transport Police, said: "The railways have seen significant delays and cancellations as a result of thieves cutting and stealing signalling and power cables from the side of the track.
“But we are working to tackle the issue and in the past few months have seen significant jail sentences handed down to cable thieves put before the courts.
“We are determined to send a clear message that such attacks on our critical infrastructure are unacceptable and the police and rail industry are working together to tackle the problem."
Methods used to deter and catch the thieves include:
- Dedicated BTP task force, increased patrols, intelligence led policing – priority second only to terrorism
- Network Rail has recently funded extra, dedicated officers
- Partnership working with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)
- National intelligence cell with members from BTP, Network Rail and soon external non-rail partners
- Use of the Network Rail helicopter, CCTV, forensic marking, trembler alarms and other devices to protect the cable
- Fast response teams to get trains on the move as quickly as possible
- Introduction of new type of cable that is easier to identify and harder to steal
- Use of approved scrap yards for disposals of used materials
Gary Cooper, head of operations at the Association of Train Operating Companies, added: “Train companies want to do all they possibly can to reduce the number of cancellations and delays caused by cable theft, which regularly leads to considerable disruption for many of their passengers.
“Operators and the industry as a whole are determined to crack down on the thieves, whose actions lead to extra work for staff and cost of millions of pounds, money which could otherwise be invested in improving services for passengers. The thieves are also putting themselves at risk of serious injury.
"Train companies are working closely with Network Rail and BTP to reduce and eventually eliminate this dangerous and disruptive crime, but tougher measures are needed to help tackle it."
Anyone with any information about cable theft should contact British Transport Police or Crimestoppers where they can report the crime anonymously and could receive up to £1,000 reward if their information leads to a conviction.
BTP can be contacted on 0800 40 50 40 and Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Notes to editors
See attachments for detailed figures.
BTP figures are higher as these record thefts and damage to redundant equipment, crimes which did not cause delay to the network (eg carried out and repaired overnight) and crimes such as “going equipped” which Network Rail’s do not.
Anglia cable theft figures by depot, 2008/09–2010/11
Anglia route total
* Delay minutes show the inconvenience experienced by the passenger and vary with each incident. If the theft is on a busy mainline then they rack up much quicker than on quieter suburban lines. It is also true that delay per incident is decreasing as Network Rail teams get more efficient at locating and fixing the problem.
** Compensation costs (known as ‘schedule 8’ costs) are paid to train and freight operators for the disruption caused by the delay. This is a substantial part of the cost to the industry of cable theft but does not include the cost of staff time to repair and replace the cable, replacement cable itself and the cost of mitigation measures such as security patrols and investment in new technology. The amount of compensation paid depends on the type of services delayed.
Depots by region:
- Colchester maintenance depot covers the entire Great Eastern Main Line and all branch lines north of Shenfield
- Romford maintenance depot covers the lines from Gospel Oak to Barking, Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness and the Great Eastern Main Line from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, including branches to Southend Victoria and Southminster
- Tottenham maintenance depot covers the whole of the West Anglia route between Liverpool Street, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
Passengers / community members
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About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.