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Railroad Steel is a Steal

Monday, May 21, 2012

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Fast track or fast buck? With 110 feet of hot steel under their belts, thieves in Western Pennsylvania won’t have to choose.

The sticky-fingered suspects unloaded the used track from a Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad Co. facility in Punxsutawney, PA, sometime between May 10 and May 17, state police said.

 The thieves made off with more than 100 feet of used Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad Co. track, police said.

 Brad Conant / fallstonflagstop.com

The thieves made off with more than 100 feet of used Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad Co. track, police said.

The heist was apparently the latest effort to cash in on the burgeoning global trade in hot metals, especially copper and steel. Western Pennsylvania has had its own mini-boom of metal theft recently.

In October, thieves dismantled a 40-ton bridge in that region and carted it off over several days. Ironically, the bridge had been closed to cut down on a rash of copper thefts in the area.

Two brothers were eventually charged in the caper when authorities caught them trying to unload about 15 tons of the 40-ton bridge for scrap.

The steel railroad tracks are unlikely to pay as well as the bridge. Main line track is usually built with 130 lb/yd steel or heavier. That’s about $43.3 pounds a foot, or 4,766 pounds overall—less than two and a half tons.

On the other hand, the tracks should be easier to conceal.

The railroad, owned since 1988 by Genesee & Wyoming, declined to comment Monday on the theft.

   

Tagged categories: Business operations; Rail; Steel

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