Is copper theft, stopping the West Midlands from connecting?

It’s not exactly mind blowing to know that there are many ways to travel around the West Midlands region, due to current local economic climate a lot of the regions workforce are now tending to prefer to travel to their work places by train.


At most train stations both inside and outside the region there is a place for commuters to park their vehicles, allowing them to then try to sit back and relax while the train gets them to their destination.


The West Midlands region rail system is fairly well connected - with travelling by train now seen as a more cost effective and better way to travel it helps eliminate having to sit in the rush hour traffic and also it is more environmentally friendly.


The rail service normally has been quite good in the past, but over the last 12 months local commuters have noticed that the service has begun to suffer from numerous delays and cancellations.


The effects of delays and cancellations can be very frustrating often leaving passengers angry as this can cause lost working hours and in some cases having to cancel meetings which may be vital for their business and the local economy.


As passengers are facing delays on a more regular basis what on earth would cause the service to seemingly have got increasingly worse over the last 12 to 18 months. So;


  • Is it down to leaves on the track?
  • Is it slippery tracks?
  • Is it staff illness?


Well perhaps not surprisingly during this current climate, although you may wonder how it’s done - local rail operator London Midland say's that the problem is mainly because of the theft of vital train line equipment.


Local scally’s are targeting the Rail network because of the money which can be made by selling the copper wire and even rail track to unscrupulous recycling plants. Now obviously this it doesn’t take rocket science to know that this is a highly dangerous thing to do - but to such scally’s, it seems to worth taking the risk of injury or death by stealing the copper wire and rail tracks.


The demand for scrap metal is increasing and so are the prices meaning that quite possibly a whole new batch of scrap metal businesses is starting up. As of today the price of copper is being sold for £95 per tonne which is perhaps little reason and excuse for such gangs to be putting other peoples live at risk.


The problems and downtime which have been cause by these delays is startling, in the period November 2010 to April 2011 it has been reported that 12,000 minutes (equivalent to 8.3 days) of delays have occurred. Even more startling is the fact that Network Rail informed Centro that in the West Midlands region alone the value of metal stolen in the last 48 months is a staggering £35 million.


To try and combat this Centro have been in contact with the Ministry of Justice to see if they can set up a ruling that would make certain metals illegal to be sold to recycling plants.


Something needs to happen to stop this criminal act of copper wire theft from the regions railways, unless action is taken by the Ministry Of Justice it is going to be almost impossible to stop this criminal act taking place.