1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Rail sabotage: Police find no signs of foreign interference

October 9, 2022

German authorities said there were no signs of foreign interference in the suspected sabotage of the national railway system. The incident has renewed fears of attacks on Germany's critical infrastructure.

A rail platform with trains on either sides, with people and officials waiting by train information boards
Long-distance rail traffic was halted for nearly three hours in northern Germany on SaturdayImage: Bodo Marks/dpa/picture alliance

German authorities on Sunday said they were looking into suspicions of deliberate sabotage that disrupted rail networks in northern Germany on Saturday.

Investigators said they have not ruled out interference with a political motive. State investigators in Berlin added there were no signs of involvement by a foreign state or terrorism in the suspected act of sabotage.

Anton Hofreiter, a Green Party lawmaker, told Germany's Funke Media Group on Sunday that disrupting the railway network's communications cables would require "very precise knowledge of the railway's radio system."

Germany's federal police on Sunday handed the investigation over to Berlin and North-Rhine Westphalia state criminal police bureaus.

Germany probes rail 'sabotage' amid Russia tensions

Deutsche Bahn alleges sabotage 

Investigators said Saturday that communication cables, key for making sure trains are running smoothly, were cut at one location in Berlin and another in Herne in the western state of North-Rhine Westphalia.

Germany's national rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, suspected sabotage as being the reason that forced it to shut down trains for about three hours on Saturday morning in northern Germany.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Saturday that authorities have to "assume intentional acts" were behind the cable disruptions.

Fears about attacks on critical infrastructure

There are growing fears about assaults on Germany's critical infrastructure after Western nations said that leaks in Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which deliver Russian gas to Europe, were likely the result of sabotage.

German armed forces Major General Carsten Breuer on Sunday said that "every substation, every power plant, every pipeline" was a possible target of attack.

Breuer made the comments to Bild am Sonntag newspaper, adding that the current state of affairs was "not quite peace anymore but not really war either."  

Breuer said Russia's invasion of Ukraine showed that war was possible on the European continent again and added that his team was preparing primarily for hybrid threats that combine both military and non-military activities.

rm/sms (Reuters, dpa, AP, AFP)

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Carsten Breuer's position in the German armed forces. We apologize for the error.