CZ/SK verze

Train services in northern Germany were paralyzed. Initial findings point to targeted sabotage of rail infrastructure

Train services in northern Germany were paralyzed. Initial findings point to targeted sabotage of rail infrastructure
photo: Deutsche Bahn/Train services in northern Germany were paralyzed. Initial findings point to targeted sabotage of rail infrastructure
10 / 10 / 2022

Saturday morning brought an unpleasant surprise for Germany's national carrier Deutsche Bahn. In northern Germany, track cables were sabotaged, and traffic had to be interrupted for several hours. The whole case is now being investigated by the security authorities on suspicion of sabotage.

Train operations were halted by the failure of the GSM-R digital radio system. Communication between the data centers that control rail traffic was interrupted. The fault was rectified after about two hours.

First, InterCity-Express (ICE), InterCity (IC), and EuroCity (EC) trains were stopped. It was followed by regional and long-distance trains in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, and Bremen. Connections were interrupted between Berlin and Cologne, Berlin and Amsterdam, and also cross-border with Denmark. Northern Germany was thus completely without train service.

It is currently unclear who was behind the attack or what the motivation was. According to the information available from investigators, the cables were severed near Berlin and in North Rhine-Westphalia. CDU/CSU parliamentary faction leader Thorsten Frei commented to RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland: "The fact that an attack on critical infrastructure requiring a considerable amount of inside information took place almost simultaneously at two different locations in Germany shows a level of organization on the part of the attackers that we have not yet encountered in this form."

There are, therefore, legitimate concerns that this may have been a targeted attack by a foreign power, as was the case with the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline. The critical infrastructure of EU Member States could thus be at risk in the context of the war in Ukraine. It can therefore be expected that its security will be strengthened.

"Russia has an interest in causing panic in Europe," security expert Peter Neumann told the DPA news agency. "Obviously, these were not amateurs or lone perpetrators. It was something done by professionals," he added. Further investigations will show if this was indeed an act by Russia. It would begin to move hybrid warfare more into an actual, physical environment and significantly affect the security situation of EU member states.

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