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Long lines formed at rail information desks and ticket booths as thousands of passengers were left stranded as their trains to cities like Berlin, Hamburg, and Hanover were cancelled.
Volker Wissing, the transport minister, claimed that a “malicious and targeted action” had hit the network. He claimed that an important cable had been cut in two places in a “deliberate and calculated” manner.
Both DB’s long-distance and regional trains in the northern region were impacted by the chaos. International routes like Berlin-Amsterdam and services between Berlin, Hanover, and the western industrial region of North Rhine-Westphalia were also impacted.
The sabotage was directed at DB’s GSM-R, or “global system for mobile communications — rail,” on-board wireless network. It is “essential for the smooth running of the service,” a DB spokeswoman told the DPA agency, and it is used to communicate between trains and the control centers that regulate rail traffic.
According to Deutsche Bahn, the sabotage caused the GSM-R system to fail in Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, and the two city-states of Hamburg and Bremen. It also stated that the incident was being looked into by German security services.
Massive leaks on Nord Stream 1 and 2, the two gas pipelines that run beneath the Baltic Sea and connect Russia to Germany, have sparked worries about the security of that country’s vital infrastructure.
This week, Swedish authorities claimed that explosions on the pipelines were to blame for the leaks and that preliminary investigations had “strengthened the suspicions of gross sabotage.”
Concerns about other infrastructure being targeted increased after the explosions. To protect pipelines and other assets in the North Sea, European nations have increased military patrols. Operators of oil and gas platforms in Norwegian and Danish waters have reported seeing several unidentified drones close to them.
According to a tweet from Deutsche Bahn, the cables’ damage was repaired during the morning, but passengers should expect service disruptions to continue. The company tweeted, “Unfortunately, you must continue to expect train cancellations and delays.”
According to DB, those traveling from Berlin to North Rhine-Westphalia cities like Cologne might want to consider taking a detour through Frankfurt or Erfurt. Numerous people adopted the idea, resulting in crowded trains traveling between Berlin and Frankfurt that had numerous passengers camped out on the carriage floors.
According to Deutsche Bahn, travelers who wanted to delay their trips because of the service disruptions could use purchased tickets for a week after the issues have been fixed.