PKP Cargo, Poland’s largest rail freight operator, are one of a handful of operators who have recently introduced drones to assist in significantly reducing the amount of thefts from the company’s trains.
Thanks to the initiatives undertaken by PKP Cargo, in the first half of the year losses due to theft of goods from trains were reduced by almost 60 percent,” the company commented in a release. The drones are used to record live footage around trains thought to be at risk, with coal being the most commonly stolen material from PKP Cargo.
In the first half of 2015 the value of goods stolen fell by 59 percent compared with the corresponding period of 2014, amounting to a reduction in loses of around PLN 1.6 million (EUR 0.4 million).
The daylight camera fixed to the drone can discretely record trains to a kilometer away, due to the camera being thermal, the drone can be effective even during bad weather and at night time. Police are then able to use the footage captured by the drones to prosecute thieves.
According to Maciej Borecki, head of the company’s Security and Audit Office, the costs of the drone programme have already been recouped. He said the company could not reveal how many drones are being operated or their cost, as this remains sensitive information.
Organised crime groups are often behind the thefts from freight trains, with a common tactic of creating an obstacle on the tracks to temporarily stop the train.