Metal theft

In view of the increasing incidence of metal theft on railway premises, this group aims to better combat this phenomenon by drawing on experience and best practices, in particular:

  • Protection and surveillance: fences, CCTV, aerial surveillance, organisation of marshalling yards and storage sites, etc.
  • Swift detection of theft: alarm systems
  • Recognition of stolen material: DNA marking, RFID system, update of existing catalogues, etc.
  • Deterrents: copper substitutes, pollution, etc.
  • Partnerships: between infrastructure managers and operators, with national authorities (legislation, intervention, justice, etc.)
  • International aspects: European Commission, World Customs Organisation, Railpol, other bodies
  • Contact with other “victims” (electricity and telecommunication companies, etc.)
  • Communication, ...

In addition, proposals for technologies submitted to the group shall be analysed with a view to publication on the UIC website in an appropriate manner.
A reference document shall include the main conclusions drawn by the group and make them available to all members.

2015 European coalition against Metal Theft

A Cross sector metal theft paper has been signed by UIC together with ten organisations representing public services strongly affected by metal theft (public transport, railways, energy networks) and the recycling industry.

These organisations are joining forces in order to urge the EU policy makers to tackle metal theft without further delay by addressing the following aspects:

  • Legislative action
  • Coordinated action and data collection
  • Dissuasive action
Joint call for actions against Metal Theft at European level Brussels (26 May 2015)

- PDF - 156.2 kb


UIC Metal theft working group

A Collaborative and cooperation effort against Metal Theft at the Railways

UIC Metal Theft working group is an ad-hoc UIC security Platform WG, raised by request of its members to answer to the metal theft increasing rail services disruptions to passengers and freight services and escalating costs to the rail industry.

Active since 2011 the UIC Metal Theft WG members agree that this is a global and immense problem affecting the EU railways. Therefore, an effort as to be made in order to gather all involved within the same objective, the Railways Metal Theft mitigation.

Chaired by SNCF (France) between 2011 and 2012, currently by chaired DBAG (Germany) and co-chaired by ZSR (Slovakia), the UIC Metal Theft WG meets under a strategic and technical work planning with clear objectives.

In 2012/13 the UIC Metal Theft WG has developed and published (November 2013), a position paper Metal theft on the Railways reflecting that the railway community is working collaboratively with its members as well as with the national and international authorities. The UIC Metal Theft WG members are very pleased with the growing level of collaboration in this field between railways, law enforcement security authorities and private sector across Europe. Below the publication:

The strategic and technical work includes a set of actions that aim to support and enhance railway community activities against metal theft. Those are:

Strategic activities

  • Improve international cooperation: Single Rail Forum for Metal Theft to share knowledge with all stakeholders;
  • Wider communication strategy (facilitate and dessiminate awareness campaigns at National and EU levels);
  • Further develop partnerships
  • with international initiatives and organisations (Pol-Primett, WCO, UNECE, RAILPOL, etc.).
  • with manufacturers in designing security solutions for the use of copper and other materials;
  • mobilise other sectors (Telecom, Energy, Roads, etc.) also victims of similar phenomena and exchange information and best practices.

Technical activities

  • International Operational Security Meetings on Border-crossing Metal Theft Hot spots (coordinated between railway companies and national authorities)
  • list of technical solutions against metal theft (current use for best practices)
  • Global costs of Metal theft (assess and measure)
  • Map of Metal Theft at the Railways (based on a GIS system, showing the EU railways network metal hotspots)
  • Border-crossing railways cable catalogue (for law enforcement and scrap metal dealers)

The UIC Metal Theft WG is a railway operating community collaborative and cooperation effort against Metal Theft at the Railways; Because the metal theft is far from being mitigated and it is in fact affecting multiple industries and by consequence society. Railways’ response to this problem can and must be consistent across Europe having as a common and single objective “Mitigate metal theft and its impacts on railway users.”

Within the WG Meeting hold on the 6th June 2017, the participants presented the development of incidents regarding to metal theft as well as their realized measures. As the results revealed that the number of metal thefts has decreased over the last years, the WG decided unanimously to continue the work and to expand its scope within the WG Sabotage, Intrusions and Attacks.

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Tuesday 2 October 2018