Unlucky pigeon brings Deutsche Bahn to its knees

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An unfortunate pigeon appears the most likely cause of a power failure which resulted in knock on delays across the German rail network

Duisburg -- German railway company Deutsche Bahn blamed a pigeon for nationwide rail disruption last week, saying the bird appeared to have short-circuited an overhead electrical-supply wire.

The weakened wire collapsed Friday on a main line in the western city of Duisburg as a packed intercity express passed. The stretch is one of Germany's busiest as it bisects Germany's heavily populated Ruhrland region and is also on the main route from Cologne to Hamburg

Deutsche Bahn said the bird had probably perched with one leg on a 15,000-volt wire and the other on a cable stay. Birds can normally perch on live wires without harm if they do not touch earthed supports.

"We think this damaged the wire and it sheared when the train arrived," said the spokesman. The whole sector shut down for six hours, 200 trains were halted and it took 62 hours for trains all over Germany to catch up with delays.

German transport police report that the charred body of a pigeon was found on the roof of the first electric locomotive at the scene. DPA

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