I’ve been meaning to post about this but every time I look for a link regarding it there is nothing to link to.

A lot of time in the mornings have been lost to upgrading of the signals between Billingham and Hartlepool on the coast line between Middlesbrough and Newcastle – the line which I travel on the way to work. Now I can expect delays due to the upgrades and I can understand that the work is long, arduous and they have to make sure they get it absolutely right.

But the delays haven’t been caused by work, they’ve been caused by thieves stealing the copper cable used for the signals. Today was the fifth time it has occurred in the space of a month. Apparently the cable has high resell value which is why the thieves target it. Now I guess you aren’t going to get a lot for a small section – you need at least one of the giant cotton real worth of cabling, which means you will have to do a lot of work to:

  1. Lift the cable out of the runs. Even dragging the cable out will mean the use of a winch or something.
  2. Move the cable somewhere. The amount of cable is substantial – remember it runs a couple of km between signals – and will weigh a lot.

Personally I would simply electrify the cable and rig it to an alarm system. As soon as the cable is cut they know the cable has been severed and have a rough idea where. A couple of security guards with night vision goggles, tasers and dogs can cover the few kilometres of track and corner the thieves until police arrive. The coverage would be easier due the limited places where the thieves can get a van to actually move the cable out.

So the question is: Why haven’t they?