Metal thieves bring Germany’s high-speed rail to a halt

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Trains running between Frankfurt and Stuttgart were cancelled on Monday after infrastructure was vandalized

A number of high-speed trains travelling between Frankfurt and Stuttgart were canceled on Monday after key infrastructure was vandalized by metal thieves.

According to Deutsche Bahn, the country’s rail operator, the heist of metal parts was discovered on Monday morning on the part of the track between Mannheim Central Station and the nearby town of Lampertheim.

The disruption reportedly affected Intercity Express (ICE) trains running on the Berlin-Frankfurt-Stuttgart route with all service between Frankfurt and Stuttgart cancelled. Some trains moving from the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia to Munich in the south via Frankfurt Airport and Stuttgart were canceled as well. The operator had to reroute other ICE trains travelling between Frankfurt and Mannheim. 

The number of copper thefts in Germany has recently seen a major surge due to a sharp rise in prices for scrap metal, Deutsche Welle reported, emphasizing that it is not only lone individuals stealing metal but also professionally organized gangs that use special tools. 

Germany has recently seen 450 cases of metal theft on Deutsche Bahn-operated railways, a spokesperson for rail operator told Euronews, adding that the thefts had affected 3,200 trains, which were delayed for a total of 40,000 minutes and cost the company €7 million.

In the lead-up to Christmas, the theft of copper cable near Mannheim caused local disruptions for days. Earlier this month, several ICE trains between Frankfurt and Cologne were disrupted due to another incident of metal theft.

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