Three hours of total paralysis. an act of “sabotage” targeting radio link cables caused a massive outage that completely shut down rail traffic in northern Germany on the morning of Saturday, October 8, Deutsche Bahn said.
All high-speed and regional connections in the north of the country have been interrupted. This sabotage was aimed “essential cables for the circulation of trains”said the German company, after the partial recovery of traffic.
It would be more precisely the GSM-R radio network of trains, used for communication with drivers, but also of“central interface between trains and infrastructure” control says Der Spiegel, the first medium to mention these suspicions of sabotage. These “optical fibre wires” could have been cut “in two places”, details the German magazine. According to the newspaper Imagethe sabotage allegedly took place in Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous region of Germany, in the west of the country.
Thousands of travelers stranded in stations
An action targeting this type of cable would not be a first come, first served basis and would require “some knowledge” of the railway system, sources close to Deutsche Bahn point out to Imagespecifying that the federal police is in charge of the investigation.
The incident caused, in particular, the interruption of connections between Berlin and certain regions in the west and north of the country, such as Schleswig-Holstein, the cities of Hamburg and Bremen, or even Lower Saxony and part of the Rhineland. Westphalia. The Berlin-Amsterdam connection has also been suspended.
Thousands of travelers were thus stranded at the stations on Saturday morning. Cancellations and delays during the day were still to be expected, despite the restoration of connections, the German railway company warned.
An aging rail network
The Deutsche Bahn company is regularly singled out for numerous delays on its lines. Thus it had announced, at the beginning of September, that it would have to carry out a titanic work, with the replacement of 137,000 concrete sleepers, to improve its tracks.
The derailment of a train in the Bavarian Alps in early June, killing five people and injuring more than 40, tragically illustrated the poor state of German lines, linked to years of underinvestment. These failures go down all the more badly as the government has in recent months encouraged Germans, big car fans, to take the train.
Experimented throughout the summer in Germany, a €9 monthly ticket that allows travel on the entire German network, except high-speed trains, has been a huge success, with approximately 52 million tickets sold.