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Major rail link down as travel chaos continues

The Local · 24 Dec 2010, 12:34

Published: 24 Dec 2010 12:34 GMT+01:00

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Around 700 passengers were forced to wait hours overnight in five inter-city trains stuck between Berlin and Hannover overnight. The track became passable again on Friday morning, and semi-normal service was resumed.

But a spokesman for German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said the disruptions will continue throughout the day.

Local trains were severely affected by the weather, with services in a 50-kilometre radius around Hannover suspended until Friday morning.

Heavy snowfall has caused massive problems in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Snowdrifts reached over a metre in height in some parts of the state following 25 centimetres of fresh snow overnight.

Dozens of trees collapsed under the weight of the freezing snow, blocking traffic on interstate and local roads. Police reported that several vehicles had got stuck, but there were no serious accidents. There were also electricity blackouts in some areas of the state.

In the populous western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, meanwhile, some 1,734 road accidents were counted within 24 hours. Some 114 people were injured, 16 seriously.

One person was killed and several people injured in a huge multiple-car pile-up on the A9 motorway in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. Some 51 vehicles were involved, including four trucks, two small vans and 45 cars. The resulting blockage caused a 15-km tailback in the direction of Munich.

Story continues below…

Chaotic weather conditions were also reported on the A1, A2 and A7 motorways.

DPAD/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:59 December 24, 2010 by Kanji
bloody, DB doesn't work as should be on extreme environment. Summer or winter it's doesn't work without any major problem. How is that?
21:06 December 24, 2010 by MonkeyMania
Totally agree with you. It's not like they don't know that it gets hot in Summer and cold in Winter is it? Will these passengers get the paltry compensation that the sufferers in Summer got. The trouble with Germany is the remedies for breach of contract and corporate responsibility breaches are nowhere near enough to deter negligence or malpractice. Easier and cheaper to let the customer suffer and pay the small fines.
23:27 December 24, 2010 by tripyouup
Just two days ago Local.de reported that the "travel chaos" was improving and had a forecasted a nice long Christmas weekend with only 20% chance of heavy snow/ice. Never under estimate the weather.

Forget the small beds for the Red Cross and entertaining stranded passengers with clowns/balloons, it's time to either start handing out some refunds or next Winter provide a larger travel warning.

I'm sure these rail and airline workers are enjoying this time off. I know how they love their jobs and they way they treat each customer so kindly and not like cattle. :-)
01:54 December 25, 2010 by DepotCat
What's happening with German technology..?? Last year when we had snow the German built trains on South West Trains self combusted at an alarming rate and in quite spectacular fashion due to ingestion of snow into the electrical parts..!! I believe they've fitted some sort of filter to sort out the problem this year.

The air conditioning units can't handle really hot days and of course there are no windows that can be opened on these trains.

Oh well, at least Germany still builds trains...The UK government sold off British train builders to foreign companies long ago.
06:24 December 25, 2010 by mashlakhito
As a Canadian I, along with many of the people that I know, had an amazing impression of Germany and German products. After moving here, I have come to realize that the impression is indeed flawed. Overall, I am impressed with Germany but the god-like impression of German products from their cars to their trains is nowhere what it actually is. I might totally be wrong on this one, but I believe this might be due to some "arrogance" on part of German Corporations. Having had specular reputation for their products some time ago, they believe that they can just maintain the status quo and maintain the high quality that once used to be. Without investments in research and development into future products, I can imagine that one day Germany will lag behind (in my opinion).
08:46 December 25, 2010 by George Palmer
All those complaining about the German railway should try the railways in the UK. Stop moaning and be grateful for what you have got-a service that is for the most part running. In the UK two centemetres of snow or 'a leaf on the line' will grind the whole system to a halt. I MEAN NO TRAINS AT ALL, ANYWHERE. God bless DB and a merry Christmas to all.
09:44 December 25, 2010 by MonkeyMania
Agree also with George Palmer. We forget how ridiculous things can be back home. Id does take extremes to knock the German weather off the rails (pardon the pun). I cannot count how many times I have heard the excuse back home of "leaves on the track" being the cause of delayed and cancelled trains. I always wondered how leaves can cause a danger to a 1000 tonne train.

At the same time, I also wonder in Germany where they are used to extreme winters and hot summers how they can be caught out by the weather. They know it comes and are used to it. Most of the time they get it right, but when they get it wrong, they really get it very very wrong.
11:07 December 25, 2010 by catjones
DB has announced its new "Non-Stop" service policy. From now on train service will only take place in Spring and Fall. The Winter and Summer train lines will be shut down in an effort to restore service levels and reduce costs.

In a related, but secret development just released by WikiLeaks, it's been discovered that Germany has plans to extend the Berlin U-bahn to Frankfurt and Munich bypassing the heat and cold. Stay tuned for further news..........
02:59 December 26, 2010 by DepotCat
MonkeyMania wrote: "I always wondered how leaves can cause a danger to a 1000 tonne train".

Crushed leaves on the rail head leave a slime which in dry conditions dosn't usually cause any problems. Light rain and especially drizzle causes that slime to become very slippery...Heavy rain tends to wash it off. In the old days when trains had brake blocks at least the slime was scoured from the wheels, but now with disc brakes it sticks to the track and the wheels causing problems when the train tries to brake. To prevent the wheels locking up computers will constantly release the brakes leading to difficulty in stopping. Then when a train tries to start away from a stop the wheels tend to spin on the slime, and the computers will constantly shut down the traction. This is what causes the delays. Occasionally a computer will throw a wobbly and shut the whole train down. To combat the problem with leaves water is used to clean the track and a sticky gel is then applied by special trains. Most trains now have their own sand boxes too...Just like the old steamers.
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