A loud bang was heard at Dortmund-Scharnhorst station in the early hours of the morning, and officers responded at 4.20am, said a police spokesman.
Upon arrival at the platform, police discovered the completely destroyed ticket machine as well as a seriously injured man, who died despite attempts by witnesses and an emergency medic to revive him.
Investigators said they assume the man received his ultimately fatal injuries while blowing up the ticket machine.
The corpse is removed from the scene. Photo: DPA
A 26-year-old potential accomplice in the explosion was detained by police, but was later released with police saying there was no pressing suspicion to warrant holding him.
The 26-year-old denied being involved in the explosion. He said he had met the 31-year-old man beforehand to drink alcohol and later met him by happenstance at the station. When he heard the blast, he said he called for help.
Both men are from Dortmund and are known to police, mainly for theft.
Local and long-distance rail traffic between Dortmund and Hamm was disrupted for several hours as a result of the explosion.
The North Rhine-Westphalia state criminal department in Düsseldorf (LKA) warned against such crimes where thieves blow up ATM or even cigarette machines to steal from their contents.