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    Thursday, March 17, 2022

    Railway Glitch Delays, Halts Trains in Poland, Italy

    Major malfunctions in the electronic control systems of railway networks in Poland and Italy have caused significant delays and cancellations along train routes, railway authorities in both countries said Thursday.

    In Poland, government cybersecurity chief Janusz Cieszynski, said a team tasked with handling emergency situations will meet Thursday to investigate the malfunction.

    Poland’s PKP PLK railway company Director Miroslaw Skubiszynski, said that the sudden outage took place at 0300GMT Thursday and affected 19 out of Poland’s 33 control centers, idling train traffic on some 820 kilometers (500 miles) of railroads.

    “Because the reach of the outage is almost nationwide, it is clear that some of the trains will not run at all today,” Skubiszynski told reporters.

    Skubiszynski did not say what could have caused the outage. Poland’s railway was asking travelers to put off train journeys Thursday as railway experts worked alongside the government’s cyber security team to gradually restore traffic.

    Skubiszynski said authorities were working to ensure that the outage does not hamper the travel plans of Ukrainian refugees. Special bus services were made available.

    Poland has admitted some 1.95 million refugees fleeing war and Russian aggression on Ukraine. On Tuesday, the prime minister of Poland joined his Czech and Slovenian counterparts on a special train trip from Poland to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv to show their solidarity with the country. They safely returned Wednesday morning.

    In Italy, railway company TRENITALIA issued an alert saying that control system outage had caused major problems along the key Rome-Florence line.

    Many trains faced delays of up to two hours or have been cancelled because of problems to the centralized computer control system, Italian State Railway said.

    Infrastructure company Alstom said in a statement that Thursday’s delays on the Italian State Railway were due to a computer bug in signaling software provided by Bombardier Transportation.

    Alstrom said the malfunction was not the result of a cyberattack and that the safety of passengers was not at risk. A “mitigation plan” has proactively been put in place to minimize and potential disruption, the company said.

    The company’s Italy branch said that the same problem affected railway systems in Thailand and India.

    Alstom owns a 20% stake in Transmashholding (TMH), the Russian locomotives and rail equipment provider. It has suspended all future business investments in Russia. Talks on a partnership between Alstom and Ukraine rail operator UZ have been put on hold as a result of the war in the country.

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