France’s Veolia wins Bavarian train routes

The French engineering group Veolia said Wednesday that it had won a contract to operate three passenger train lines in Bavaria worth more than one billion euros over 12 years.

France's Veolia wins Bavarian train routes
A picture of a Dutch Veolia train. Photo: Wikipedia/Erik1980

“Veolia Transport, via its German subsidiary Veolia Verkehr, has won a major contract in Bavaria in the short-distance passenger transportation sector,” the company said in a statement.

It said operation of the three lines previously run by Deutsche Bahn for a period of 12 years starting from December 2013 will generate a cumulative revenue in excess of €1 billion ($1.3 billion).

The contract covers operation of three rail lines from Munich to the Bavarian town of Rosenheim and the Austrian cities of Salzburg and Kufstein. Germany is in the process of opening up its railways to competition.

“This is a great success,” Cyrille du Peloux, CEO of Veolia Transport, was quoted as saying in a statement. “New direct links will be put in place and the trains will be upgraded and made more comfortable.”


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Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.