Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Like goldy and bronzy, only made of iron

Posted in Great Britain, Infrastructure, Other general stuff about railways, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 12 June 2011

Copper theft is becoming something of a serious problem on the railways in Great Britain, with it being the cause of major delay and disruption, the most recent incident of which being the one just last week that led to trains into and out of Waterloo coming to a stop for the best part of six hours, leaving passengers stranded on trains often in the middle of nowhere – the result of the theft was that all of the signals between Waterloo and Woking defaulted to red, meaning no train could go anywhere. Copper theft is now becoming possibly the most serious thing that the British Transport Police are trying to deal with at present. So it was with some degree of irony that I read in today’s newspaper that a Class 47 currently stored at Long Marston, which had been used in a BTP campaign to try and counter vandalism on the railways and was repainted in a special British Transport Police livery, had its copper wiring stolen. While this is funny to be sure, there is a serious aspect to the story (that obviously is not picked up on by the newspapers); locomotives are stored at places like Long Marston so that often they can be used as a spares cache for those locomotives that remain in use. However, if the risk of them being vandalised for copper (or other valuable commodities) is on the increase, then owners may well end up deciding that it is not worth storing such locomotives, and instead sending them for scrapping, thus depriving operators of valuable sources of potential spares to keep their locomotives, which are still major factors in the economic health of the railway, operating.

“British Transport Police train vandalised”
“Copper theft from coppers? Not really but it makes a good headline.”
“Rail chaos as passengers stuck on trains for hours”
“BTP appeal for information following attempted cable theft that caused SWT delays”

The British Transport Police liveried Class 47 that suffered vandalism and had its copper wiring stolen - will owners stop storing locomotives as spares sources and instead send them for scrap if vandalism continues?

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