Tough network there.....
This story sounds like an example of the blame game, that bullshit that rules work places, politics, and justice. In the blame game, no matter how complex something is, all consequences can be laid totally at the feet of one individual. For example in the corporate world, the feet are usually the most poorly paid of all involved.
> The value of the metal involved may seem trivial, but the consequence was definitely not.
> Network Rail claimed this single theft led to some 36 trains being fully or partially cancelled
> and a further 115 delayed – at a total cost of £75,000 to the operating companies.
At the end of the day, if Network Rail's network was dependent on 25m of copper, 44UKP worth, then they are to blame for the canceled trains as much as the thieves. How unresilient to damage must the rail network be if one incident can cause such problems? The reality of the world is that theft happens, so for NR to enable it such that 1 theft can have such knock-on effects.... well, NR are not fit for purpose. Though let's be honest, the purpose that public transport was privatised was to make cronies of the government rich.
Right, just tried to look up their share price over the years..... Network Rail are a limited company: they are totally privately owned.
Not a PLC would be a panacea, but NR being totally private explains why so many stations don't actually have any competition when it comes to food, drinks, shops, etc.. I wonder how many involved with NR are also involved with buses? Once you have those two in control, you can jack the prices up so they are close to what it costs to run a car!
NR saved at least 44UKP from their costs by not having a spare parts to hand or the staff to fix it fast, which the owners no doubt rejoiced over, but constant trimming of fat means that there isn't the needed buffer for some events that are inevitable.
NR could save more money by removing all locks anywhere in stuff they own, and sell the locks and keys for scrap. Because theft is illegal, if anything happens as a consequence of there being no locks then it can't be NR's fault. Just like this theft of Cu.
That is what the blame game says, and that is why it is bollocks. Do not play that game, do not engage with people when they try to. They use lots of logical fallacies to get people to go along with them, false dilemmas are the most common. Learn to recognise them, and call people out when they use them.
Of course, that 75000 figure will be the mathematical maximum the op co's could have made to make the thieves look as bad as possible (and hence make the company appear to be poor, damaged little victims. Like a kitten that has wondered onto a motorway. Companies are not people, they cannot actually be hurt, they are a truck to the kitten in the preceding analogy). The op co's will have assumed that the trains were full to capacity, all customers bought the most expensive option of ticket (a single, no rail cards or discounts, no pre-bookings, etc.). In reality, the trains would have been mostly empty (or over capacity), there would be very few ticket nazis on the trains, so many people will not have paid at all, those that have paid will seek to get their prices as low as possible.