Network Rail is offering a reward to anyone who can find the culprits of copper thefts which caused Lincoln rail services to grind to a halt several times.
Since April 2010, there have been 23 incidents of thefts causing delay to rail service around the city, compared to just six in the previous years.
Trains have also been delayed by 7,700 minutes due to copper being stolen off the tracks and Network Rail have paid £43,107 in compensation because of delays.
Copper is vital to railways because it is used to signal and operational systems within the network. Thieves target it for its scrap value of up to £5,000 per tonne.
The trains stop operating when copper is stolen due to the railways being fail safe — when copper is missing on the rail, the train will halt.
Although this keeps passengers and staff safe, it is of great inconvenience to passengers, Network Rail and Lincoln traffic.
So far British Transport Police (BTP) have recorded 67 cable related incidents in Lincoln and made 20 arrests, but there are still thieves out there.
Route director for Network Rail Richard Lungmuss said: “Metal thieves targeting the railway are causing misery to thousands of passengers and freight users and costing the industry, and the wider economy, tens of millions a year – and rising.
“We are doing everything we can to deter such thefts and protect our vital railway.
“Working in partnership with the police, more and more culprits and scrap metal dealers are being caught, and we’re pushing hard to make sure they face the toughest possible sentences.
“I would also ask anyone with any information to report their suspicions to Crimestoppers – they could receive up to £1,000 reward.”
Anyone can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.