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7 people killed by storm Xavier, rail travellers told to expect further disruptions

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Travellers at Alexanderplatz U-Bahn station in Berlin on Thursday. Photo: DPA.
08:47 CEST+02:00
After a powerful storm which killed at least seven people blasted across northern Germany on Thursday, rail transport will continue to be disrupted on Friday.

The vast majority of long-distance trains in north and northeastern Germany had been cancelled until further notice on Friday morning.

Rail routes between Hanover and Berlin, Hamburg and Berlin, Hamburg and Hanover, and Hamburg and Kiel are closed.

One day after hurricane-force winds swept through the north of the country, cancellations on main rail routes are likely to cause considerable delays and long waiting times for commuters and long-distance travellers on Friday.

A Deutsche Bahn spokesman warned on Friday that the temporary suspension of trains in north and northeast Germany could also have an impact on the national railway network. They have also assured customers that tickets that were not used on Thursday are still valid on Friday.

Many rail travellers expressed their frustration on Thursday, as they were left stranded at railway stations, with Deustche Bahn providing no alternative means of transport.

Storm Xavier killed at least seven people in Germany, five of them in their vehicles, on Thursday. Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania were particularly badly affected by the storm and the consequences of fallen trees.

A fallen tree on Kurfürstendamm in west Berlin. Photo: DPA

A woman in Hamburg was killed on Thursday when a tree blown over by hurricane-force winds fell on top of her car. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania a truck driver died when a tree hit his vehicle as he drove down a state road.

The most tragedies were suffered in Brandenburg, where four people lost their lives. In Berlin a woman was killed by a falling tree in the Tegel area, while several other people were seriously injured.

According to Bild, the woman killed in Berlin was Dr. Sylke Tempel, a political expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), who had just left a meeting at the Foreign Ministry.

While public transport in Hamburg is slowly returning to normal, a Deutsche Bahn spokesperson advised commuters in Berlin who normally travel with the S-Bahn to switch to other means of transport.

"The entire network in the region is massively restricted. We have numerous trees on the tracks, damaged overhead lines and broken masts," a Deutsche Bahn spokesperson said on Friday, stating that the repairs would probably take all day.

“We couldn't repair all the overhead lines and rail infrastructure at night," he added.

The S-Bahn was completely shut down running on Thursday because of the storm.

Long-distance travellers will likely not be able to travel on routes today which had been closed last night, according to the spokesperson.

Deutsche Bahn advises travellers throughout Germany to use their app to find out about cancellations and delays.

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