Children Robert Miles
10 May 2013, 06:00
There's been a huge fall in the number of trains in the Thames Valley delayed because of cable theft.
Latest figures from Network Rail show since 2010/2011 the number of incidents fell from 5 to 2.
But the trains affected fell from 2,119 to 48 and the cost paid out in compensation to rail operators from £2,166,331 to £5,376.
The rail company says the improvements are down to a number of factors. They are working with British Transport Police targeting thieves and scrap dealers buying stolen metal.
Engineers have been getting together with suppliers of metal to make them harder to steal and easier to trace.
Chris Denham from Network Rail says in terms of the cost it really depends in where the incident occurs: "You can have an incident on the Great Western Mainline through the Thames Valley and it might be rectified in an hour but it'll cause a huge number of delay minutes and cost us a lot of money.
"If it happens on a branch line, like to Henley, it wouldn't affect a lot of people therefore the costs would be lower."
The number of delay minutes fell from 25,416 to 386 in the last three years.
In the Autumn new rules for scrap metal dealers come into force. The Scrap Metal Dealers Act will require metal dealers to satisfy their local authority that they are a legitimate trader.
Police and local authorities will also have the power revoke licences where they suspect illegal activity, helping clamp down on the estimated 1,000 metal thefts per week which cost the UK around £220 million a year.
Magistrates will also be able to issue unlimited fines to any metal trader they find dealing in cash, operating without a licence or breaching the licence conditions.