Copper thieves behind the shutdown of Sweden’s main rail line
A daring and dangerous copper wire theft on Sweden’s main rail line brought traffic to a standstill on Tuesday. Rail traffic connecting Stockholm, Malmö and Copenhagen stopped after the thieves cut the high-voltage overhead lines and stole the valuable copper wire inside. Passengers had to disembark and take buses around the affected area.
Sweden’s rail lines were hit by as many as 147 copper thefts in the second half of 2011, according to the country’s Transport Administration, resulting in around €14 million in repair and extra surveillance costs. Three weeks ago, around 200 trains forced offline for 12 hours when the same stretch of track, between Tranås and Nässjö, was targeted by criminals taking a huge stretch of copper wire. The thieves were probably dressed as rail workers.
“The Southern Main Line is the main artery of Swedish rail traffic from north to south and these [crimes] have huge effects,” Linus Eriksson, a manager with the Transport Administration, told the TT news agency.
[pictured: Public transport, Stockholm; photo by Melker Dahlstrand/imagebank.sweden.se]