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Intruder Alarm System To Reduce Copper Theft At Heritage Railway Site in the UK

Interface Security Systems : 25 May, 2011  (Application Story)
Interface Security Systems has implemented a security alarm system at the Severn Valley Railway which enables out-of-hours staffing as well as reductions in theft of valuable copper without the problems of false alarms in an environmentally challenging location
Intruder Alarm System To Reduce Copper Theft At Heritage Railway Site in the UK

The Severn Valley Railway, a prominent railway preservation site visited annually by thousands of keen enthusiasts, sought to improve security at its working Engine Shed, Oil Store and Boiler Shop. Having recently lost a large quantity of high grade copper, used uniquely in the manufacture of the boilers, equally high quality security was essential to prevent further theft of such vital, irreplaceable components.

SVR contacted a local installer, Interface Security Systems Limited, to design a solution that was reliable, cost effective and that could overcome a number of difficult technical challenges.

Although essential to detect unwanted intruders as soon as possible, engines are often moved around and left overnight venting hot steam, water and smoke. It was therefore necessary to stop this ‘in-steam’ situation from creating false alarms whilst still preventing unwanted visitors.

Along with permanent staff there is a large number of volunteer ‘preservationists’ on-site. Their need for cleaning materials often coincided with the hours when the shed and shop should remain alarmed. Once again, there needed to be a way to distinguish friend from foe.

Finally, it would not have been in keeping with such a heritage site to display modern security equipment around the premises. But the size and nature of the engine shed and boiler shop made it difficult, time consuming and costly to install cables discreetly in order to protect the character of the building.

Interface Security Managing Director Chris Barnard commented, “ The challenge for us was to protect such a large facility, overcome difficult obstacles and provide the very latest security at the right cost.  Overcoming such difficulties called for a highly flexible solution”. 

Interface Security Systems Ltd chose to install Cooper Security’s latest hybrid intruder alarm system, the i-on160EX, which is the control unit for a wired/wire-free alarm system. The unit can operate up to 160 zones by using expanders that share a single bus cable. Depending on the type of expander, the same system can use either wired or wire-free detectors. The bus cable also lets the installer connect keypads or extra power supplies wherever they’re called for.

This system made it possible to put a backbone cable between the three buildings and ‘hang’ keypads, hard-wired detectors and wireless detectors throughout the site - even where cable access was difficult. Installation time was thereby minimised and all work could be carried out during normal working hours without any disruption.

Splitting the system into three partitions, we installed a dedicated keypad in each building that enabled each area to be set separately.  The higher risk engine shed and boiler shop can now be controlled by staff with high security proximity key fobs. The large number of weekend volunteers requiring access to the oil stores use a cost effective, simpler entry code.

In this way the boiler shop and engine shed remain alarmed while volunteers can get their supplies from the oil stores without worry. And Severn Valley Railway now has state-of-the-art security protecting their facility from theft of irreplaceable components.

Nick Ralls of Severn Valley Railway comments, Interface Security Systems responded promptly and efficiently to our requirements, the recent thefts at our Bridgnorth site led us to look at our on site security and identify that our buildings needed a monitored security system.  We are delighted with the performance and versatility of the intruder alarm system and the installation was carried out with minimum disruption to our engine sheds

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