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Train between Berlin and Hamburg (symbolic image)

Photo: Rüdiger Wölk / IMAGO

After the failure of numerous long-distance trains due to fires at cable ducts in Hamburg, the police are assuming arson. She suspects a political motive as the background. This was announced by the officials on Friday. They are now looking for witnesses.

On Friday night, cable ducts on railway lines were set on fire in three places in the Hamburg city area; namely at the level of the street Deelwisch, on a line of the Deutsche Bahn in the area of Walter-Rudolphi-Weg and on the Hamburg port railway at the level of the Heykenaukamp.

The fires were discovered between 2:30 a.m. and 3:40 a.m. It was assumed that there were deliberate arsons. A letter of confession is circulating on the Internet, according to which the arsons are aimed at criticism of capitalism and sabotage. It is still unclear whether the letter is genuine or whether they are free riders.

All fires were extinguished by firefighters, but the consequences for train traffic are severe.

Trains between Berlin and Hamburg will probably not run again until the evening

The route between Hamburg and Berlin was closed on Friday morning. There were considerable disruptions to long-distance traffic. Local transport was also affected. A spokeswoman for Deutsche Bahn told SPIEGEL that a fire "on the infrastructure of Deutsche Bahn in Hamburg" had caused the outages.

"The long-distance trains are partly diverted via Uelzen or cancelled," it said further from the railway. Diversions via Uelzen usually cause delays of around 30 minutes on the route between Hamburg and Berlin.

"As an alternative, journeys with a change in Hanover are also possible. This increases the travel time in each case," the spokeswoman explained. Traffic between Hamburg and Berlin is expected to resume in the course of the evening.

Because of the fires, trains in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are also cancelled; for example, ICE and IC trains between Hamburg and Rostock or Stralsund and the Baltic Sea resort of Binz.