Deutsche Bahn picked for UK rail services

Germany's Deutsche Bahn said Friday it had been selected to operate trains and stations on the Tyne and Wear Metro in and around the English cities of Newcastle and Sunderland.

Deutsche Bahn picked for UK rail services
Photo: DPA

Nexus, which owns and manages the light rail system used by more than 40 million passengers a year, said it would now finalise details with Deutsche Bahn’s DB Regio unit on a contract for seven or nine years from April 1, 2010.

State-owned Deutsche Bahn, which operates in 150 countries and already owns a stake in Britain’s Chiltern Railways, said it expected the contract to be finalised by mid-January. No financial details were released.

Last month Deutsche Bahn, which also operates bus services in other European countries, won a contract to run a local train network in the Swedish region of Oestergoetland from December 2010.

In addition to commuter services between London and Birmingham, Deutsche Bahn also operates trains in the Greater London area and non-stop services between London, Wrexham in Wales and the county of Shropshire.

“We were chosen by Nexus in preference to eight other competitors, including major European transport groups. This once again emphasises our position as a leading European local transport company,” Deutsche Bahn said in a statement.

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German train drivers announce strikes after pay talks collapse

The German Train Driver’s Union (GDL) has declared that it is going to start a round of strikes on Deutsche Bahn services after pay talks with the state-owned company broke down.

A train arrives at Berlin central station. credit: dpa | Wolfgang Kumm
A train arrives at Berlin central station. credit: dpa | Wolfgang Kumm

After four rounds of talks on a new pay deal for Deutsche Bahn’s train drivers, the GDL union has said that it will call on its members to go on strike.

“We wanted to negotiate and reach an agreement, but Deutsche Bahn refused again,” said union boss Claus Weselsky.

The union has not said when the strikes are planned for, or which services will be hit.

However, as more people are travelling around Germany now as tourism opens up after the shutdown, it could be a major blow to domestic holidaymakers and businesses. 

Deutsche Bahn claims that it offered the union a pay package equivalent to one that was agreed between the government and state employees last year. That agreement guaranteed a pay rise of 3.2 percent over 28 months.

Last September Deutsche Bahn agreed a pay increase of 1.5 percent with the much larger Rail and Transport Union, which represents some 215,000 of the company’s employees.

But the GDL, which has a reputation for hard-line negotiating, refused to take part in the talks.

The strikes come at a time when Deutsche Bahn’s services are just starting to recover after more than a year of restrictions due to the pandemic.

When the GDL last went on strike in 2015 Weselsky proved to be a tough negotiating partner, with drivers taking to the picket lines in a series of actions that stretched over several months.

The strikes six years ago culminated in the longest rail strike in German history – a six day walk out that brought chaos to the transport system and cost the economy an estimated half a billion euros.