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Products supplied by Arconic Fastening Systems have received official endorsement for use in the campaign to deter theft of valuable copper cable from the UK’s railway network, a crime which costs the industry £16M per year.¹

Searching for a more robust solution to the easily-removed nuts and bolts at spider junction boxes, Network Rail engineers in Newcastle upon Tyne approached the team at AFS. Following a series of rigorous trials and tests a Certificate of Acceptance was granted by the Network Rail Acceptance Panel, authorising the use of Huck® fasteners and associated installation tooling.

With installation training provided by AFS, Network Rail replaced the traditional nut and bolt system with Huck C50LR-BR20-12G and C6LB-R12-12G fasteners and using additional galvanised casing to house them, attached the cable to the track as well as the junction box. 

From 01 April 2010 to 31 March 2011 there was a 70 per cent increase in theft of cable, which accounts for 39 per cent¹ of all railway property theft and is second only to terrorism on British Transport Police’s list of priority crimes. Even though these figures saw a reduction of almost 50 per cent in 2012, railway incidents still cause up to countless hours of delay each year to commuters, long distance travellers and deliveries to essential organisations such as power stations and hospitals.

John Rickers, systems development manager at AFS, believes the solution is a superior upgrade. He said: “Stolen cable is not only expensive to replace but there are also the additional costs of labour and the inconvenience caused to railway customers.  When a cable is cut or stolen, the area has to be located, isolated, jointed and tested, and depending on the level of the theft it may involve specialised teams to carry out the repair work. Nuts and bolts can be undone relatively quickly. Huck fasteners cannot and the longer it takes to attempt this, the more chance thieves have of being caught or aborting the theft in frustration. Attaining the Certificate of Acceptance from Network Rail is recognition that our fastening systems offer positive, practical solutions to businesses and organisations which not only save them money, but as in this case, aim to minimise the disruption caused to people’s everyday lives. We look forward to working with Network Rail in rolling the system out.”


¹Source: British Transport Police