• Germany's news in English

Strike cripples rail traffic nationwide

The Local · 10 Mar 2011, 10:58

Published: 10 Mar 2011 08:37 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Mar 2011 10:58 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The strike by the GDL train drivers' union over pay and working conditions began on freight rail lines at 8:00 pm on Wednesday, followed by a strike by drivers on passenger train routes nationwide from 4:00 am until 10:00 am on Thursday.

"No train?" asked a confused man in Leipzig's main station. "No train!" came the terse response in the equally limited English of a Deutsche Bahn customer service representative. But the situation around the country wasn't any better for those travellers understanding German either.

"I guess I'll have to take the car," sighed a businessman trying to get from Saxony to Munich. "But I'll be beat, which is crap."

S-Bahn commuter train traffic was hit hardest in major cities such as Berlin, Hannover, Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart, operator and national rail provider Deutsche Bahn reported.

In Munich S-Bahn trains were reportedly running just once per hour, though the S8 line from the airport to the city centre was still managing to run every 20 minutes.

Regional and long-haul routes for both passenger traffic and freight were not spared by the strike either, with trains reportedly sitting idle around the country.

"From the Bodensee (Lake Constance) to the Odenwald we have train cancellations," a Deutsche Bahn spokesperson from the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg said.

In the central state of Hesse regional and long-haul trains, in addition to S-Bahn routes in the Rhine-Main region, were all heavily affected by the strike.

Meanwhile train service was almost completely interrupted in the states of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.

“At the Leipzig main train station pretty much no trains are moving,” GDL spokesman Peter Taschenberger said.

Few S-Bahn trains were running in Halle, while routes around the city’s outskirts were “practically dead,” GDL’s deputy leader for the region Klaus-Peter Schölzke said.

The strike for freight train drivers centred on eastern Germany, where some 600 trains had reportedly been severely delayed by Thursday morning.

Many companies reportedly began turning to truck delivery for their goods, reports said.

The union hopes the strike will push national rail operator Deutsche Bahn and its private competitors to "put an offer on the table at last that can be the basis for talks," GDL boss Claus Weselsky said on Wednesday.

Story continues below…

The union, representing 75 percent of Germany's 26,000 train drivers, is pushing for a salary increase for Deutsche Bahn employees and for uniform pay practices at the former monopoly and at competitors.

Following a series of temporary strikes in recent days, more than 90 percent of members voted for an indefinite strike on Monday.

Deutsche Bahn has reportedly sent out hundreds of additional employees to train stations around the country to aid passengers affected by the strike. The company will refund tickets without charge and has set up a toll free number for passengers: 08000 99 66 33

DPA/DAPD/The Local/AFP/ka

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:17 March 10, 2011 by freechoice
No worries mate!

Automobiles (Germany)

Total number of cars: 53,600,000

Cars per 100 capita: 65
11:18 March 10, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
dang I need to wake up... I first read the headline as "cripples strike rail traffic nationwide"
13:22 March 10, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Ach nein! Not the German Cripples !!!

Well, think of it this way, Its a great opportunity to fill up on some $$$$$Biofuel$$$$$ !!!

I mean, how great is Tax collector though, E10 ::chaching:: Everything is a win/win for them! Sweet!

You, on the other hand, more of a lose/lose. But Chop-Chop, now!! Off to work, Socialists!!! Don't forget Germans, you now own Europe, so you have to pay for the mortgage.... and, a few Al Gore Warming Tax schemes cooked up along the way.

Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd