Rail travelers in Germany should exercise caution when using automatic ticket machines because criminals attempting to break into the machines may have left them filled with explosive gas, the Associated Press reports.
According to the news outlet, criminals have successfully blown up 10 of Deutsche Bahn’s automatic ticket machines since April. To break into the machines, the thieves cover all openings with tape, fill the machines with gas and then ignite it. Although the goal is to tap the machines of money and blank tickets, there have been at least six cases where attempts have failed, leaving the explosive gas inside.
Hesse state police spokesman Udo Buehler told AP there is potential that the gas could ignite when an unsuspecting customer uses the machine, but so far no such incidents have been reported. Travelers should be cautious when getting train tickets in Germany and elsewhere, as copycat criminals could pop up anywhere.
Long-distance train travel is making a comeback with Eurostar announcing plans to expand its services. The high-speed train, which primarily serves London, Brussels and Paris, has its sights set on new destinations across the European continent.
Eurostar says its entire system is undergoing an overhaul – from the booking process, to the routes, to the trains themselves. The company’s website has been given a facelift in order to create a more user-friendly booking portal, and brand new uniforms have been designed for the crew. Updated trains are also in the pipeline and are expected to be up and running by 2015.As far as network expansion goes, Eurostar says it has its eye on a number of possible routes including London-Holland and London-Germany. Eurostar’s Chief Executive Nicolas Petrovic says he will be looking closely at routes that currently have a lot of air traffic. He told CNN he hopes travelers will eventually come to think of train travel the same way they think of flying.
Eurostar’s overhaul comes in the wake of stiff competition from German train line Deutsche Bahn, which has said it will offer trips across the Channel Tunnel starting in 2016.
[Photo credit: Flickr user Mike Knell]