Cable thieves and lacking phone service cause chaotic morning

The trains are late, your phone probably doesn’t work, but otherwise all is well in the Danish business sector

For the third time in less than a week, S-train commuters arrived at their local platforms to find that trains were running on a reduced schedule due to thieves stealing cables at local stations. This time, Karlslunde Station was the victim and cops quickly nabbed two suspected copper thieves.

“We caught them driving in a van with 15 pieces of copper wire and a saw in the back, so we assume that they are behind the stolen copper cables near the track in Karlslunde,” police spokesperson Martin Bjerregaard told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “We presume that they are Romanian, but will examine their identities more closely as the investigation progresses,” said Bjerregaard.

Police say that they are also investigating whether the men they have in custody had a hand in cable thefts in Solrød, Hundige and Vallensbaek that snarled train traffic last Friday, over the weekend, and again on Monday morning.

READ MORE: Banedanmark hopes to put brakes on copper theft

Søren Thrane, the head of technical operations at railway operator DSB, said the no-one will get rich from selling pilfered copper train cables.

“The scale is modest and limited to about 200 metres of cable with relatively low monetary value,” he said. “But the consequence of the missing cables for trains and traffic that have to go through crossings is very real.”

Thrane could not guarantee that there would be no more thefts in the future.

“It is incredibly annoying, but it is very difficult to contain, as we have many kilometres of rail,” he said.

Søren Fiirgaard, a spokesperson for Banedanmark, said that they are trying to make the cables even less valuable.

"Over the last two years, we have been replacing the copper cables with aluminium and steel, which conduct as well, but have no resale value."

Although Fiirgaard had no direct knowledge of where theives sold the stolen cables, he said that some of it was probably sold out of the country. He said that local scrap yards have been asked to contact the police if they see a rise in the amount of copper cables coming their way.

While Banedanmark has no policing element of its own, they do work with private security companies and home guard, Hjemmeværnet, to help police the rails.

"They cannot arrest anyone, but they can attempt to frighten them off and call the police," said Fiirgaard.

No trains, no texts
Meanwhile, many stranded commuters couldn’t even text their bosses to tell them they were going to be late, as millions of TDC customers in Denmark, Sweden and Norway found that they could not send text messages.

TDC spokesperson Camilla Jorgensen told Computerworld that the crash was due to a software error in the company’s administration system.

Her best advice to those whose messages were not being sent?

“Try again.”

TDC said that the problem would be cleared up by later today.

DSB also said that trains would be back on a normal schedule by the early afternoon.

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