Track revamp tackles cable thefts
A £28m project to revamp rail signalling between Hartlepool and Sunderland has been completed.
Network Rail claims the scheme, on a 18.5 mile (30km) stretch of track, will make it harder for thieves to steal valuable cabling.
Five signal boxes along the route, which hugs the east Durham coastline, have been removed and replaced with a centralised control room at Ryhope.
The stretch of track has been plagued by cable thefts in recent years.
Warrick Dent, area general manager for Network Rail, said: "This rail route is a vital part of the community and provides both local and intercity passenger services as well as a busy freight route.
"Unfortunately this area is a notorious cable theft hot spot so we have taken the opportunity of this project to protect the new system by making the cables more difficult to steal and easier for police to trace if they are taken.
"These anti-theft measures will help us to deliver a reliable railway at reduced cost and with potential for increased services in the future."