15,000 Volt Surprise Unlucky Pigeon Blamed for German Railway Chaos

German railway engineers believe they have solved the mystery of what caused last Friday's nationwide disruptions to the railway system -- an unfortunate pigeon that landed on a 15,000-volt overhead power line.

An unlucky pigeon is believed to have caused nationwide disruptions in Germany's rail network last Friday by unwittingly causing a short-circuit when it landed on a 15,000 volt overhead power line, Deutsche Bahn said on Tuesday.

A total of 200 trains across Germany were delayed, some severely, after the pigeon put one of its feet on the live wire and the other on an insulated one, causing a freak short circuit which damaged the wire so badly that a 100 meter stretch of it was torn down by the next passing train.

The bird's charred remains were found on the roof of that train, which caused the damage as it was pulling into the station of the western city of Duisburg.

"The short circuit had damaged the power line, which tore when the train passed," a railway spokesman told German media.

The accident led to an automatic cut-out of the power supply to several other railway tracks for six hours, causing an aggregate total of 62 hours of delays on various train routes, the railway said. Engineers will now conduct a fuller investigation.

cro/dpa