RAIL commuters in Dublin were left with a major headache this morning after Dart services were cancelled due to the theft of live signal cable.
Criminals stole a length of cable, which had a significant electric current flowing through it, overnight from the line at Shankill.
The problem was noticed as the first train made its way from Bray, Co Wicklow, to Dublin’s city centre at around 6am.
The theft forced a serious disruption of Dart services that included cancelling trains between Bray and Dalkey.
A limited service was operated between Dalkey and Dun Laoghaire, while Dublin Bus accepted rail tickets for customers to and from stations south of Dun Laoghaire.
Engineers worked to repair the damage done by the criminals.
Irish Rail has apologised to its customers for any inconvenience caused.
Amazingly, it was not the first time that live high-voltage electric cable has been stolen from the train line.
There have also been incidents of thieves stealing live ESB cable.
It is understood that the cable is then sold to scrap dealers.
A spokesman for Irish Rail said: “It’s rare, but it has happened before, there was one incident last year and there have also been incidents with the ESB.”
He said that a working group had been established with the gardai to try to stamp out the practice.
There are nightly patrols along the lines.
Another plan being considered involves coating the cable with a chemical that would stain the hands of any thief for upwards of 60 days.
Last December, gardai were forced to issue a warning following a number of live cable thefts.
There were a total of 12 incidents in the space of just three weeks.
Both Irish Rail and gardai warned of the dangers of interfering with the electricity supply, saying it has “potentially fatal consequences”.