Train services between Amsterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven were disrupted for several hours on Monday after copper thieves removed cables from the line.
Police discovered just before 5am that cables had been cut at Hedel in Gelderland, affecting signals and points in the area.
Intercity trains running from Alkmaar and Enkhuizen to Eindhoven had to be cancelled until maintenance workers were able to fix the problem at around 9.40pm.
ProRail says it has reduced the number of copper thefts on the railways from around 500 in 2011 to 65 in 2019 by using better detection methods, including camouflage netting.
Fences, camera surveillance and spiked rubber mats have also been put in place, while cables are marked with forensic spray so they can be identified if stolen.
Surveillance team worker Patrick Melisse told NOS he had once spent eight nights under camouflage beside a railway line waiting to catch metal thieves in the act.
‘It’s mainly a question of waiting a long time,’ he said. ‘But if you catch them red-handed you’ve got conclusive evidence of a theft, you have an offender and you can prosecute them and claim for damages.’
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