An act of “sabotage” disrupted train travel across northern Germany Saturday morning.
All high-speed, regional and freight trains in the north of the country were interrupted for nearly three hours Saturday morning due to radio link cables being cut.
Deutsche Bahn claimed that the paralysis was caused by a deliberate act, which halted trains in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Bremen.
Long-distance trains between Berlin and Cologne and Berlin and Amsterdam were also affected, while trains from Denmark weren’t crossing the border into Germany.
Germany’s Minister of Transport Volker Wissing said it was “clear that this is a targeted and deliberate action”, adding that the motive was not “yet known”.
In a statement to the press, he said “cables essential to the operation were voluntarily and intentionally severed.”
German police have launched an investigation into the incident which left thousands stranded on Saturday morning.
Deutsche Bahn warned that travellers should expect cancellations and delays during Saturday.
Federal police said there were crime scenes in a Berlin suburb and in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, German news agency DPA reported.
There was no immediate word on who might have been responsible.
“We can’t say anything today either about the background to this act or the perpetrators,” Wissing said. “The investigation will have to yield that.”
This act comes just over two weeks after sabotage actions targeting the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines linking Russia to Germany.
The incident made the German government start reinforcing protection around its critical infrastructure.
Deutsche Bahn is regularly singled out for the many delays on its lines.
At the beginning of September, it announced it would carry out titanic work, replacing 137,000 concrete sleepers to upgrade its network.
A train derailed in the Bavarian Alps at the beginning of June, which caused the death of five people and injured more than 40.
Criticism was voiced that this tragic incident illustrated the poor state of Germany’s railways, linked to years of underinvestment.
These failures fall amid an effort by the government to encourage Germans to take the train by offering heavily subsidised rail tickets.