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Victims of train AC meltdown paid €500

DPA/The Local · 21 Jul 2010, 15:11

Published: 21 Jul 2010 15:11 GMT+02:00

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Temperatures reached up to 50 degrees Celsius on an ICE train from Berlin to Cologne on July 10 after the cooling system broke down. Several passengers collapsed and nine students on a class field trip were subsequently hospitalised when they got off the train in Bielefeld.

Witnesses described dramatic scenes aboard the train, as dehydrated students reportedly stretched out in the aisles and one woman smashed a window in hopes of getting fresh air.

Until Wednesday, Deutsche Bahn had only offered the victims compensation of 1.5 times the worth of their tickets on that day. The VZVB German consumer protection agency had suggested that €300 would be an appropriate amount.

The company declined to provide more details about their new offer of €500, but Deutsche Bahn boss Rüdiger Grube, Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer and members of the parliamentary transport committee plan to meet on Thursday to discuss the situation.

Around 50 defective train air conditioning systems were reported in the days following the incident, with ICE 2 trains particularly affected. There was also criticism of Deutsche Bahn employees for the way they handled the malfunctions.

State prosecutors have also opened an investigation into the Bielefeld train conductor’s actions to find out whether he could or should have stopped the overheating train sooner.

On Wednesday, Deutsche Bahn also denied reports by broadcaster ZDF that temperatures in that train had actually reached more than 70 degrees Celsius, but added that internal analysis estimated it had risen to a scorching 61 degrees in a utility area.

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“However this power unit is located outside the passenger areas on the underside of the train,“ the company said.

While Deutsche Bahn has referred to the climate control problems as a new phenomenon, Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel reported on Wednesday that internal documents showed several such concerns already the summer of 2008.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:36 July 21, 2010 by moistvelvet
So does every passenger get 500 euro or just the ones that whinged and complained on the day? Hardly fair to those that grim and bare it but equally suffered.
16:02 July 21, 2010 by 23Dan
That's the bottom line - is €500 for each passenger who complains more or less than the price of fitting all trains with AC that works properly?
17:03 July 21, 2010 by Bushdiver
Too bad this isn't America. Those that passed out would be rich today.
20:02 July 21, 2010 by BarbieDE
OMG if this happened in America people would sue for millions due to mental distress....I can hear it now....Everytime I see the sun I go into panic attacks....I deserve 1.5 million dollars to help me deal with those attacks...lmao.
05:53 July 22, 2010 by Kanji
True, if this america DB will suffer a lot financially about their own mistake. Hope DB learned from this and improve their trains and services. Price is increasing but service is not.
09:25 July 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
To those of you who commented on "what would have happened in America," you know nothing about the American legal system and in fact don't know your @sses from third base.
10:36 July 22, 2010 by moistvelvet
What is third base? :-p
10:46 July 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
You just made my point for me.
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