Network Rail Cable Theft Prevention - Panduit Cable Band Straps (Stainless Steel)

By Chris Dodds on 6th February, 2015

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Network Rail Cable Theft Prevention - Panduit Cable Band Straps (Stainless Steel)


Panduit Cable Locking Stainless Steel Bands - Protecting Network Rail Cables From Theft


Throughout the 20,000 miles of Network Rail infrastructure electrical cables are used to provide the vital power needed to keep its trains and 2,500 stations in operation. These cables run trackside and overhead throughout the network infrastructure - a network of rail power, signals and telecoms cables.

The composition of these rail cables coupled with the ever-rising value of copper and scrap metal results in a large number of cable thefts.

Cable theft costs Network Rail millions of pounds annually. The total cost to the economy and the travelling public,Rail Cable including the impact of freight delays to power stations, supermarkets etc and on passengers who miss appointments or have their day ruined, is much higher.

Corporate reputation cannot be price-tagged.

The theft of metal is a serious problem confronting the railway as thieves target copper power cables, signalling cables, copper earthing tapes and overhead power lines. 

Britain's rail network is designed to be fail safe, which means that when a cable is cut trains are brought to a standstill. This protects passengers but can lead to lengthy, frustrating delays while the problem is found and fixed safely by Network Rail engineers.

A large proportion of Network Rail funding is provided by the UK Government, so these thefts ultimately cost taxpayers money.

Pictured : British Transport Police. 

BTP tackle metal theft through enforcement, education and deterrence. Network Rail has estimated cable theft can cost the industry up to £16 million pounds every year. In the past few years, passengers have been inconvenienced with thousands of hours of delays as a direct result of cable theft – it is one of the major causes of disruption on the rail network. Since 2006 the price of copper – the metal inside cables widely used by the rail industry – has soared, which lead to a sharp increase in reported cable thefts. 

Panduit Stainless Steel Rail Cable Banding Straps


Concrete Cable Trough On Network RailPictured Right: Concrete Cable Trough On Network Rail Trackside

Trackside rail cables are often protected inside concrete cable trough running parallel to the track between electrical feeder pillars, control boxes and kiosks. To prevent the theft of these cables, Network Rail have specified Panduit super heavy duty stainless steel banding to wrap around the cables and securely strap them to the cable trough.

This measure will make the cables more difficult to access and extract therefore deterring thieves owing to the considerable extra time and effort involved and the added risk of detection, apprehension and arrest.

The frequency of Panduit cable locking needs to be balanced with cost and the need to maximise the quantity of locked cables as quickly as possible. As a result of this, the below table sets out how often Panduit stainless steel rail cable bands should be used.

Guidance On The Frequency Of Panduit Stainless Steel Banding 

Description Of Site  Banding Frequency
Cable has been stolen from this location before  Every cable trough
There are signs of intended cable theft, e.g.
fencing has been cut to gain access, troughing
has been disturbed, incidences of trespass
Every cable trough
Within 200 metres of a station, level crossing or
other location where thieves can readily walk onto
the track
Every second cable trough
Cable theft has occurred within 1 km  Every second trough
Cable theft has occurred within 5 km  Every third trough
No previous history of cable theft or reason to
suppose additional risk of theft
Every third cable trough


The Benefits Of Using Panduit Super Heavy Stainless Steel Bands

Following research, Panduit stainless steel bands have been chosen because they are available with:

  • 4.5 kilo Newtons minimum breaking strain (compared to 1 kN for nylon)
  • Deliberately smooth surfaces and radiused edges to prevent catching skin during installation or damaging cable sheaths
  • A ball-locking device that prevents relaxation of tension over time from temperature fluctuations or vibration
  • A buckle that retracts and retains the cut end of the strap to eliminate the presence of sharp edges
  • A range of purpose-designed tensioning and cutting tools
  • A history of successful use on the UK railway

Stainless steel bands are supplied in two sizes:

1) Panduit Super-Heavy : 2.5 metres long for tensioning around upright cable trough walls
2) Panduit Super-Heavy : 594 mm long to encircle the cable bundle and the first cable band

Neoprene cushion sleeving is supplied on a reel and cut to length on site and fitted to the Panduit super-Panduitheavy stainless steel band. Cushioning is not required for the 2,500 mm super-heavy stainless steel band on the upright wall.


Panduit Stainless Steel Banding & Tensioning Tools - PADS Numbers
PADS No. Panduit No. Cable Band Strap Description
089/002001  NCMLT34SH-L  Panduit Super-heavy stainless steel bands, 2500mm, supplied in packs of 50
089/002002 MLT6SH-LP Panduit Super-heavy stainless steel bands, 594mm, supplied in packs of 50
089/002003  PCSSH-B-CR  Neoprene cushion sleeve for the supplied on 30.5 metre reel
089/002004  RT2HT Controlled tension and cutting tool for stainless steel bands


Pictured : Panduit MLT6SH-LP Pan-Steel Self-Locking Cable Tie. General Purpose, Super-Heavy Cross Section, AISI 304 Stainless Steel, 6.0" Max Bundle Diameter, 1.00" Min Bundle Diameter, 900lbs Min Tensile Strength, 0.015" Thickness, 0.63" Width, 23.4" Length 

Panduit Rail Cable Strap


Installing The Panduit Super Heavy Stainless-Steel Bands

To begin installing the Panduit stainless steel bands to rail cables, remove the cable trough lid and place it where it is out of the way and won’t cause a hazard by sliding or falling. Where necessary, clear vegetation and debris from the side of the rail cable trough where the long stainless steel band will be placed.

Put the stainless steel band in place around the cable trough wall so that it drops into the crack between the neighbouring troughs and feed the end through the buckle and hand-tighten to take up as much slack as possible.

Pictured: Network Rail Stainless Steel Banding Installation

Network Rail - Panduit Stainless Steel Banding Installation

Use the controlled tension tool to apply appropriate tension to prevent the stainless steel band from being pulled upwards and off the cable trough wall. When suitably tensioned use the tensioning tool’s cutting bar to cut the tag and lock the buckle in a single action.


Pictured: Network Rail Heavy Duty Cable Tie Installation Area

Network Rail Heavy Duty Cable Tie Installation Area


A neoprene cushion sleeve shall be applied to each shorter stainless steel band to additionally protect the cable sheath from damage by over-tensioning and to provide a further layer of electrical isolation. 

Cut the neoprene cushion sleeving to length and apply it to the shorter stainless steel band by sliding the rounded end of the rail cable band through the void in the cushioning so that the inside of the band is completely covered.

Rail Cable Straps

Slide the shorter stainless steel band into the cushion sleeving before placing it around the cable bundle. Carefully gather the rail cables in a bunch and feed the stainless steel band with cushioning around the bunch and behind the steel band that has just been installed. Feed the tag through the buckle. 

Use the controlled tension tool to draw in some of the slack. Slide the cushioning between the cable banding and the cables and draw in the remaining slack so that the cables form a loose bundle ; to prevent inadvertently damaging cable sheaths do not apply tension.

The bundling and the friction from the cushion sleeving will prevent the cables from being pulled out.

Pictured : Panduit Heavy Duty Cable Tie For Network Rail Installation

Panduit Heavy Duty Cable Tie For Network Rail Installation


The True Cost Of Metal Theft

#MetalTheft is a huge problem for the UK economy and scrap metal industry costing around £220m per year. T&D are perfectly placed to help in the fight against metal theft in the UK.

Read : #MetalTheft - Preventing The Theft Of Metals, Copper & Cables In The Electrical Power Industry


T&D are Link-up Registered and Approved Vendors to Network Rail and TfL London Underground (LU).

Metal Theft


Panduit Pan-Steel Super-Heavy Stainless Steel Cable Tie System

Category:  Rail

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