Sabotage paralyzes trains for hours in northern Germany

BERLIN (HPD) — An act of sabotage against a rail communication system temporarily suspended passenger and freight train services in northwestern Germany on Saturday, authorities said.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn had previously said there were no long-distance or regional trains in the states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Bremen. That meant that trains between Berlin and Cologne, as well as between the capital and Amsterdam, did not run, while trains from Denmark could not cross the border with Germany.

The sabotage affected a major mode of regional and intercity transportation in Germany, as well as disrupting supply lines for industries that use freight trains.

After a nearly three-hour suspension, Deutsche Bahn said the problem — a “fault in the train’s digital radio system” — had been resolved, but some disruption could still be expected. The company later said the outage was caused by “sabotage on cables that are essential for rail traffic” and that security authorities had opened an investigation, the German news agency dpa reported.

Transport Minister Volker Wissing said cables that are “essential for handling rail traffic safely” were deliberately cut in two separate places. He said that Germany’s federal police were investigating the incident.

Federal police said the sabotage was discovered in a Berlin suburb and in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, dpa reported.

There was no immediate information on who might have been responsible.

“We cannot say anything today about the background of this act or the perpetrators,” Wissing added. “The investigation will have to throw that out.”

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