Employees try to give directions to passengers crowded at the...

Employees try to give directions to passengers crowded at the entrance to the platforms, at Sants train station in Barcelona, Sunday, May 12, 2024. Catalonia's commuter rail service said it was forced to shut down several train lines due to the robbery of copper cables from an installation near Barcelona. Potentially thousands of voters had trouble reaching their polling stations after Catalonia's commuter rail service had to shut down several train lines due to what officials said was the robbery of copper cables from an installation near Barcelona. Credit: AP/Joan Mateu Parra

BARCELONA, Spain — Commuter rail service serving Barcelona and northeastern Spain has suffered major disruption because of the theft of copper cables from a train installation, Spanish rail authorities said Sunday.

Thousands of commuters were stranded at train stations in and around Barcelona after trains couldn't run on several commuter lines.

The disruption to local transport came while more than 5.7 million voters were eligible to participate in a regional election in Catalonia.

Spain’s state-owned railway authority ADIF said that the theft of electrical cabling from a station just north of Barcelona in the town of Montcada caused “several fires in the cables of the signaling system.”

It said that the incident around 4 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) caused a “serious” impact to the local train service and affected all the rail lines.

Catalonia’s commuter rail service suffers regular delays, some because of similar acts of theft.

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