Metal thieves blamed for trains misery

Dozens of trains across the region were disrupted after metal thieves struck close to Dudley Port Rail Station in Tipton.

SANDWELL  Birmingham New Street display board

The crooks stole two 500ft lengths of cable containing copper on Friday night - forcing 100 hours worth of delays. A total of 13 trains were cancelled and 87 were disrupted.

Many trains destined for Tipton were diverted via Bescot while other services terminated at Wolverhampton.

Wolverhampton resident Sally Pritchard, who was on the 12.44pm Virgin train to London Euston, was among those affected.

“My journey from Wolverhampton to Birmingham New Street normally takes 15 minutes but this time it took at least 45,” she said.

“We were advised they had lost signalling in the Dudley Port area due to some cable thefts.

“It was very frustrating. When I got to Birmingham New Street there were big queues at the information desk.

“Lots of people were uncertain about how they were going to get home.”

The theft was discovered on the track a quarter of a mile from Dudley Port on the Birmingham side of the station at 11.20pm on Friday night. Cancelled services included trains to Wolverhampton and Piccadilly.

Network Rail spokesman Keith Lumley said engineers had been able to fix the cables last night.

“We would like to apologise on behalf of the rail industry,” he said.”

British Transport Police spokesman John Ellul said: “At 7.52am on Saturday, 20 October a Network Rail engineer called police after discovering cut and damaged cable on the rail line near Dudley Port rail station in Tipton.

“BTP is now investigating the damage, believed to have been caused deliberately, and will work closely with Network Rail in a bid to trace the offenders.”