Fiber optic cable theft halts Spanish bullet train service

August 8, 2022 GMT
Train passengers wait with their luggage at Atocha train station in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Hundreds of passengers were stranded Monday morning in Madrid and Barcelona train stations as the bullet-train railway linking both cities was sabotaged during the night. The Spanish railway infrastructure company ADIF reported the theft of some 600 meters of optic fiber cable during the night in the Catalonia region which led to the suspension of the train service for most of Monday morning. (AP Photo/Paul White)
Train passengers wait with their luggage at Atocha train station in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Hundreds of passengers were stranded Monday morning in Madrid and Barcelona train stations as the bullet-train railway linking both cities was sabotaged during the night. The Spanish railway infrastructure company ADIF reported the theft of some 600 meters of optic fiber cable during the night in the Catalonia region which led to the suspension of the train service for most of Monday morning. (AP Photo/Paul White)
Train passengers wait with their luggage at Atocha train station in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Hundreds of passengers were stranded Monday morning in Madrid and Barcelona train stations as the bullet-train railway linking both cities was sabotaged during the night. The Spanish railway infrastructure company ADIF reported the theft of some 600 meters of optic fiber cable during the night in the Catalonia region which led to the suspension of the train service for most of Monday morning. (AP Photo/Paul White)
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Train passengers wait with their luggage at Atocha train station in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Hundreds of passengers were stranded Monday morning in Madrid and Barcelona train stations as the bullet-train railway linking both cities was sabotaged during the night. The Spanish railway infrastructure company ADIF reported the theft of some 600 meters of optic fiber cable during the night in the Catalonia region which led to the suspension of the train service for most of Monday morning. (AP Photo/Paul White)
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Train passengers wait with their luggage at Atocha train station in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Hundreds of passengers were stranded Monday morning in Madrid and Barcelona train stations as the bullet-train railway linking both cities was sabotaged during the night. The Spanish railway infrastructure company ADIF reported the theft of some 600 meters of optic fiber cable during the night in the Catalonia region which led to the suspension of the train service for most of Monday morning. (AP Photo/Paul White)

MADRID (AP) — Hundreds of rail passengers using the line between Madrid and Barcelona were left stranded for hours after some 600 meters (2,000 feet) of fiber optic cable used in the signaling system were stolen, Spain’s railway infrastructure company ADIF said Monday.

The overnight theft in the Catalonia region forced the suspension of the bullet train service linking Spain’s two biggest cities, as many people headed off for their summer vacation.

Passengers crowded platforms before trains began running again in the late morning. Passenger José Luis told the Associated Press at Madrid’s Atocha station that he had been waiting for hours to catch his train to Barcelona.

Catalonia regional police Mossos d’Esquadra said one person had been arrested for stealing around 600 meters of cable. An ADIF spokesperson told the AP service would be fully restored around Monday midday and estimated that at least 15 train departures would be canceled.