Last Tuesday, something quite extraordinary happened in Hamburg.
This is what we know: three people boarded a normal inner city train car, wearing hats and balaclavas. One sprayed paint over the train's CCTV camera. And then, somehow, they built a real, actual brick wall inside the train doors.
Here it is:
Image via NDR.
This was no amateur job. German news site NDR noted that "bricks have been precisely tailored to the entrance area of the S-Bahn, professionally stacked and bonded". Once travel authorities realised the wall was there, the train was taken out of circulation and the it was torn down. Improbably, the wall's construction and removal caused €10,000 worth of damages.
Image via NDR.
Yet during its 12 stop tour of the city, the wall didn't seem to faze Hamburg's hardy commuters. One commented:
No one seemed to be paying any attention to it and I just assumed it was a new feature or something.
The authorities, on the other hand, are taking the stunt very seriously indeed. If caught, the perpetrators could face up to five years in prison or a heavy fine.
What remains a mystery is why on earth anyone – let alone what appear to be semi-professional bricklayers – would do this. The carriages have a couple of doors per carriage, so the wall wouldn't have successfully kept anyone inside. This implies that the stunt was probably meant to be art of some kind, yet no collective or artist has stepped forward to claim it.
Perhaps the failure of the police to see the funny side convinced them it would be best to keep quiet.