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Police probe Deutsche Bahn over horror heat

DPA/The Local · 12 Jul 2010, 08:04

Published: 12 Jul 2010 08:04 GMT+02:00

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The national train operator was being probed on suspicion that it had negligently caused bodily harm and that train staff had failed to adequately assist passengers, a spokeswoman for the federal police in St. Augustin said late on Sunday.

Temperatures reached up to 50 degrees Celsius on the train from Berlin to Cologne – one of three trains over the hottest weekend of the year to have suffered air-conditioning malfunctions.

Nine students and elderly passengers were taken to the hospital, where some received IV drips. The student group from Remscheid and Willich in North Rhine-Westphalia had been on its way back from a class trip to Berlin.

Witnesses described dramatic scenes on board the ICE train as dehydrated students reportedly lay down in the aisles, and one woman smashed a window during the trip in hopes of getting fresh air.

The police spokeswoman said it had become known before Bielefeld, the Rhineland city where the train finally stopped, that the air-conditioning system was broken. A witness told a train conductor that he had noticed a sharp smell of burning rubber. The conductor subsequently established that the air-conditioning was no longer working, yet the train continued on its journey.

Whether the break-down had already been noticed in Berlin, where the train originated, had yet to be established, the spokeswoman said.

Deutsche Bahn boss Rüdiger Grube phoned students and teachers on Sunday to apologise. The operator has also offered compensation to the people affected by the baking conditions.

But passengers' rights group Fahrgastverband Pro Bahn chairman Hartmut Buyken, told broadcaster hr info that the breakdown was evidence of systemic failures.

“Deutsche Bahn has been penny-pinching in the wrong places,” he said.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:40 July 12, 2010 by claudegaveau
I was on the RE Express this morning from Alexanderplatz to Schönefeld airport and it was the same. Stiflingly hot and no air conditioning on. This is normal on trains and buses. I cannot count how many times over the years I have been on trains, buses, trams, U-Bahns where the air conditioning is not on and it is beyond endurance to be travelling. Somehow I wonder if they dismantle the air conditioning to save costs??
15:07 July 12, 2010 by DepotCat
Johnny English Ha Ha good comment.

I notice that they've removed the hammers to break windows on our German built trains in the U.K. It also seems that the air conditioning just can't keep up with demand even on mildly warm days. And boy does it make a racket. There are also French built trains running on my local lines which were not popular at first, but the air con works and it's alot more quieter...Oh and the seats are more comfy.

At one time German build = quality...and when the old British Rail had problems it was always compared to the rather efficient DB.
16:46 July 12, 2010 by Kanji
DB services are getting bad. No to mentioned, trains are always late. Their price are increasing yet services are getting bad. Winter or summer, there's no difference and what really surprise me is that in such a high tech industrial country, DB is benefiting from it.
08:08 July 13, 2010 by pepsionice
I rode the bahn yesterday between Mannheim and Kaiserslautern. First, virtually no seats left but you have to expect that in July. But the car I entered....had barely any AC running. The temperature I quicky noted after five minutes was around 95 degrees, and increasing. I got up and left that car and entered the next.....which had adequate AC and around 82 degrees.

In the old days....you let the window down and just enjoyed the breeze. On any given day, with these AC units....I'd bet twenty cars out of the inventory are "broke", and there's no way of opening any window.
02:19 July 15, 2010 by mikecowler
I,m a train driver in th Uk here,s my point of view:

Firstly: The Train Manager or Guard of the train has 1st a safety responsability to herself and then to their colleagues and the travelling public...If any coaches had no air con and the train was loaded full and standing then the Guard/Train Manager should of refused to work the service on safety grounds..

Secondly: The woman who smashed the window to allow ventilation into the coach should be prosecuted for criminal damage, because she could of harmed herself or other travelling public...the emergency train stop alarm should of been used instead...i,m sure her breaking the window just delayed the train longer, for it to reach a safe station where the passengers could alight....

And thirdly most ICE trains all over EEC europe have LAMINATED windows..This is to obviously stop the public from decapitation from flying class in a crash, which is why there are NO HAMMERS in coaches any more on services fitted with laminated glass...

RES and U Bahn services make frequent stops so its not unusal for there to be NO AIRCON fitted or working..

Hope this answers some silly questions

Nice to know labotimised travelling public exist in Germany as well as the UK.......Be thankful your not Privatised yet, quite alot of our Railway companies are now being taken over by Deutsche Bahn, our joke in the UK is you could,nt bomb it so you bought it ha ha ha
09:10 July 16, 2010 by black1
It's the same on some of the buses in Berlin at the moment. AC is out and the driver couldn't care less.
15:01 July 18, 2010 by greattoucan
I have heard that the AC was working in the first class cars, but not in the second class cars. If true, just what kind of a DB is this? Körperverletzung ìs just the beginning, then. And how does the AC not work on electrically-powered railroad trains? I think the Transport Minister needs to look into these incidents, and hold someone responsible, and fix this problem immediately before someone gets killed. We still have a lot of hot summer days left.
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