CHARLOTTE, NC Whenever evil people come up with some new terror tactic, there are people who tell the media to not speculate on possibilities for future attacks. It only gives the terrorists new ideas. However, when Western journalists establish an idea about potential future terror outlets, the extremist networks already dreamed up similar concepts long ago.
High-speed trains, a convenient target for terrorism
Germany, France, Italy, and Spain all have massive high-speed rail networks along with smaller systems in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg. Sweden, Norway, and England which connects the island nation with the continent through the Channel Tunnel.
Given the frequency of service and thousands of travelers, both commuters and tourists, that utilize European rail network each day, it seems only a matter of time before trains become a major target for terror.
Intercity Express Trains (ICE’s) are Germany’s national “bullet train” services that operate throughout the country. Reports are claiming there is a possibility that there was tampering with the ICE high-speed rail track in Bavaria. The incident in Germany occurred on October 7th, 2018. Somewhere between Nuremberg and Munich, a driver on the ICE 529 made a report of a suspicious noise during the night. Upon arriving in Munich central station and checking the railcar, damage to the windshield is found.
Later information says that a steel wire had been stretched across the path of the train with wooden wedges placed on the tracks. Authorities also released information that they acquired a threatening letter written in Arabic promising more attacks. Indications are that the recent incident occurred near a bridge covered with Arabic graffiti.
While there have been scattered attacks at subway stations and rail terminals in major European cities in the past, so far terrorists have not attempted to wreak havoc on the numerous high-speed transportation networks in countries where they are most heavily utilized.
High-speed train travel security
Modern high-speed technology operates Europe’s trains at peak speeds reaching 186-miles per hour. The speed alone makes the devastation to lives and infrastructure an ideal method of delivering a terror message to the world.
Until now, trains have been spared such events and are still an easy mode of transportation compared to airlines with all the security measures travelers must endure. Should a train be sabotaged killing massive numbers of passengers and destroying trains, tracks, and surrounding infrastructure, the immediate impact will be enormous.
Frequency of rail service could become reduced and would most assuredly result in increased security measures, not to mention other inconveniences that have made modern air travel a hassle even during ideal circumstances.
The problem is not as well defined in the U.S. as in Europe where passenger trains do not operate with the regularity and efficiency of the continental rail lines.
Thus far, Presse Augsburg reports that the threatening message and alleged ICE incident have not been confirmed to be connected. Still, investigators realize all too well that percentages are high that the two events are related. For now, the investigation has been taken over by the State Attorney General and the Bavarian Central Office for Countering Extremism and Terrorism (ZET).
Due to the lack of quality passenger rail services in the United States, chances are slim that such stories will even be a blip on the radar until a major incident actually does occur. Only then will we take notice and react rather than put measures in place to prevent the possibility of future attacks.
Here’s hoping that the “October surprise” in Germany will result in a wake-up call to rail services throughout Europe and security will be bolstered before there is yet another tragic loss of lives and property.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is a founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up