Copper thieves disrupt train services

Copper thieves have delayed trains in the province of Zeeland twice this week, but there is little the railway network management company ProRail can do about it, the NRC Handelsblad reports on Friday.

Travellers between Bergen op Zoom and Goes were confronted with major delays twice this week after parts of the copper overhead wire on the railway were stolen.
Copper thieves are attracted by the high copper price, which has increased by 800% in the last few years to €5 per kilogramme, says the paper.
ProRail tells NRC that tackling copper theft has become a top priority but that its hands are tied because copper wiring is vital to the railway network. ‘Copper is the best material to conduct electricity,’ a ProRail spokesman is quoted in NRC as saying.
ProRail says it recorded 374 copper thefts in 2007, 34 of which caused disturbed services. It warns that stealing copper is extremely dangerous and is trying to make the network less accessible by putting up fences and hedges alongside the tracks.

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