Attackers cut vital cables of the rail network in two places bringing all rail traffic in northern Germany to a standstill for nearly 3 hours on Saturday morning, in what authorities called an act. vandalism without identifying who may be responsible.
Federal police have opened an investigation into the incident, Transport Minister Volker Wissing told a news conference. “Clearly this was a targeted and malicious act,” he said.
The disruption immediately set off alarm bells after NATO and the European Union last month emphasized the need to protect critical infrastructure following what they called “sabotage” actions. Nord Stream gas pipeline.
“We can’t say much at the moment, it’s too early,” said an unnamed security source. The source said an in-depth investigation into the incident has begun and that there are many possible reasons, from simple cable theft – which is a common occurrence these days – to a targeted attack. destination.
Neither the federal police nor the interior ministry immediately responded to requests for comment.
State rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) said in a statement: “Due to vandalism of cables indispensable to rail traffic, Deutsche Bahn had to stop rail traffic in the north for nearly three in the morning. now.”
The DB had previously cited the cause of the network disruption as a technical problem with radio communications. Rail traffic was still patchy on Saturday afternoon after being restored, it said, warning of train cancellations and delays.
The disruption has affected rail services through the states of Lower Saxony and Schlewsig-Holstein as well as the cities of Bremen and Hamburg, directly affecting international rail journeys to Denmark and the Netherlands.
Queues grew rapidly at major stations including Berlin and Hanover as departures boards showed many services delayed or cancelled. Station staff went out of their way to offer advice to passengers as delays persisted.
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke and Christian Ruettger; Editing by Catherine Evans and David Holmes)