[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One of the most significant security threats facing railway operators today is theft.

In addition to theft of goods that are being transported within the freight cars, cable theft is another issue that is also likely keeping a lot of Security Directors up at night.

Copper is costly, making it an attractive target for thieves. And railroad infrastructure is home to a whole lot of it. Signaling is at the core of railway infrastructure, as it enables trains to move along networks safely and efficiently. Single to multi-core copper conductors are used extensively in railroad infrastructure because they can stand up to extreme physical conditions and are rated to carry the required voltages, current, and frequencies. So although copper cabling is integral to the safety and efficient operation of rail networks, it also attracts thieves seeking to take signaling cables, overhead power lines, and even metal fences to sell for scrap.

There are thousands of miles of trackside copper cabling, and much of it in remote areas, making it ripe for the picking. When a portion of signaling cable is removed, it causes a track circuit failure. This then results in a disruption of train services – often for hours at a time. Between service disruptions and the steep costs of replacing stolen copper, cable theft comes with a very hefty price tag for rail operators.

Physical security technologies are a strong line of defense for railways in warding off thieves and helping protect their bottom lines. In addition to fencing and the perimeter intrusion detection systems highlighted in Part 2 of this blog series, there are several other technologies that can help harden security on our railways.

The Internet of Things (IoT), for example, is transforming business applications and has already been applied to the rail industry for predictive maintenance, advanced monitoring of assets, and improving operations through real-time data analysis. When put to task to mitigate copper cable theft, IoT can be especially effective. The placement of devices embedded with sensors along the trackside cables allows operators to detect the current flowing through the wire. If a cable is hacked, the closest device can detect a loss of power at a specific point and automatically alert the authorities of the location and time of the loss of power.

Technologies such as a 3D surveillance systems can autonomously detect and report physical changes in a space and can be integrated with security, dispatching, and collaboration software to address the entire lifecycle of an incident. Data from cameras, alarms, sensors, and IoT can be viewed and assessed to deliver real-time situational awareness. The combination of fixed and mobile sensors on trains, tracks and other infrastructure integrated with artificial intelligence facilitates effective monitoring via automated detection of anomalies and potential safety impacts.

As long as copper prices remain high, so also will the theft threat to rail operators. NextGen is here to support you in further securing your rail infrastructure and reducing the burdensome and costly incidents of theft. Call on us today to learn more.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]