Heuston trains running on time again after thieves tried to steal copper wire

Irish Rail employee foils attempted robbery of valuable wire used for signalling

The delays were  due to   vandalism of signalling equipment between Newbridge and Kildare overnight. File photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

The delays were due to vandalism of signalling equipment between Newbridge and Kildare overnight. File photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Thieves caused €4,000 worth of damage and disrupted the travel plans of thousands of commuters in an attempt to steal copper wire.

An Irish Rail employee disturbed a number of men who were attempting to remove signalling wire on a stretch between Newbridge and Kildare town.

They failed in their attempt, but 350 metres of signalling wire made from copper was damaged and had to replaced.

Irish Rail spokeswoman Jane Cregan said it had a knock-on effect on services in and out of Heuston Station on Wednesday morning.

“It diverted signalling workers from other work that was planned for today and caused widespread disruption to thousands of rail customers,” they said.

“No cable was actually taken as the thieves were disturbed, but the cable was damaged at that stage so had to be replaced.”

Irish Rail said commuters faced up to 90 minute delays as a result of the delay, but Colm Collins said his train from Bagnelstown in Carlow to Dublin Heuston was almost two hours late. The 6.55am normally gets in at 8.07am but arrived at 10am.

The line is now back to normal and all services are running as planned.

The theft was discovered between 4.30am and 5am when the first trains started to operate.

As a result the automatic signalling system through the section of track affected had to be switched to manual.

Theft of copper is common given that the metal has increased in value fourfold in the last decade because of worldwide demand.

Luas passengers also faced a disrupted service due to a tram failure.

There was no service between Blackhorse and the Point or Connolly, with trams operating from Tallaght/Saggart to Blackhorse only. The fault has been repaired.