‘Sabotage’ blamed for massive railway disruption in Germany


Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national railway company, said that an act of “sabotage” had affected its radio communications network on Saturday morning. The incident brought rail traffic in the northern part of the nation to a standstill and stopped trains to and from Denmark and the Netherlands.

According to Der Spiegel, the company’s communications network failed completely at around 6:40am local time. The newspaper said that “unknown persons” severed a data line in a cable duct near Berlin, while another one near Dortmund was also sabotaged. According to the paper’s sources, saboteurs would have needed “information about the railway network and how you can paralyze it.”

“Due to sabotage of cables, which are indispensable for train traffic, Deutsche Bahn had to stop train traffic in the north for almost three hours this morning,” a spokeswoman for the company said. In a separate statement later on Saturday, Transport Minister Volker Wissing said that the cables were “cut deliberately and willfully.”

With a police investigation ongoing, Wissing said that “the background to this act is not yet known.”

The alleged sabotage caused a technical fault that brought all long-distance Deutsche Bahn trains in northern Germany to a standstill, and suspended intercity traffic between Berlin, Hanover and North Rhine-Westphalia. Regional trains were halted in Lower Saxony and Bremen, while international trains between Berlin and Amsterdam, and Padborg and Copenhagen and Aarhus were also stopped.

As of Saturday afternoon, Deutsche Bahn has partially restored most routes. However, the company cautioned that passengers can still expect delays and cancellations.

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