Suspected metal theft delays Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton trains

05 April 2023
Passengers advised to check before travelling after suspected metal thieves cause signalling cables to catch fire.

Network Rail has released images showing the charred remains of lineside cables in Shropshire. The damage caused has knocked out the signals for trains between Shrewsbury and Telford.

Network Rail lineside troughing

Network Rail suspects that cable theft was to blame for the cause of the fire.

Railway response teams first dealt with the incident shortly before 3am (Wednesday, April 5) and found the concrete troughing which houses the cables alight. Shropshire Fire and Rescue service were called to safely extinguish the flames. At first all services were stopped but limited trains are now running while engineers work to repair the damage.

Those planning on travelling between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton should check the National Rail website before they set off on their journeys with delays expected throughout today.

Network Rail lineside troughing

Aftermath of the cable blaze which Network Rail engineers are working to repair.

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Kevin Siddell, Network Rail’s North West and Central region head of crime and security, said: “We’re sorry to passengers impacted by signalling problems between Shrewsbury and Telford after a suspected metal theft. Cabling which controls traffic lights for trains have been badly damaged by fire. We’d like to thank Shropshire Fire and Rescue service for their swift response to extinguish the flames and prevent any more damaged being caused.

“A limited number of trains are now running while our engineers continue to make emergency repairs. As delays are expected for the rest of today, we’d urge people to check National Rail Enquiries before they set off on their journey.”

Jonny Wiseman, customer experience director at West Midlands Railway, said: “I'd like to thank passengers travelling between Shrewsbury and Birmingham today for their patience while Network Rail makes emergency repairs following a suspected metal theft incident overnight. Services may be impacted for the rest of the day, so I would urge passengers to check their train is running before setting out."

Network Rail is working closely with the British Transport Police while it investigates the incident.

Anyone witnessing suspicious behaviour on or around the railway should report it to British Transport Police by calling 0800 40 50 40 or texting 61016.


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What are "traffic lights for trains"?

Posted by Jane Sullivan on Sat 08 Apr 07:24:06