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Long-distance trains start running again after hurricane

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Long-distance trains start running again after hurricane
A hotel train at the central station in Hanover. Photo: DPA
09:06 CET+01:00
After Deutsche Bahn (DB) cancelled all long-distance trains across Germany on Thursday for safety reasons against hurricane “Friederike,” it resumed operations on Friday.

“The first long-distance trains are on their way," a DB spokesperson told the German Press Agency (DPA) early in the morning on Friday. At 3.25 am a high-speed train from Munich departed for Frankfurt Airport.

But there will “still be restrictions,” the spokesperson added.  

In North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony in particular, important routes are still closed, DB said on its website. The rail company advises all travellers to check the status of their train online.

Due to restrictions on routes further north, long-distance lines in Bavaria will initially experience interruptions and delays. Regional transport is already operating again without restrictions.

In the south of Germany, trains are to operate normally from Friday morning onward, DB announced in the evening on Thursday.

“In the north of Germany, trains will start as soon as further lines have been cleared of damage. We expect that in the course of the morning all major German cities - though with restrictions - will be accessible again by long-distance traffic. For the weekend, we expect a largely normal traffic flow," DB stated.

At least eight people have been killed due to the hurricane, adding to an earlier toll of six which included two firefighters deployed to attend to emergencies.

A 64-year-old man fell eight metres while he was working to secure the roof of a house. He later died in hospital, police from the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt said. Another man, 34, also succumbed to his injuries after he was crushed by a falling tree, added police.

In many regions, wind speeds of over 117 km/h were recorded. Several airports also cancelled flights for safety reasons. In the north, slippery roads caused problems for motorists.

Regional train services were also disrupted on Friday, particularly in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state.

Hundreds of rail staff worked through the night to clear the tracks of branches and trees.

Many trees were uprooted by the force of the storm while others worked to repair damage to the lines, DB said.

It was the first time in ten years that DB had cancelled all long-distance trains on its network. The last time was during hurricane 'Kyrill' in 2007.

German insurers estimated that the hurricane caused €500 million in damages, although it was only a quarter of that inflicted by the storm in 2007, which cost some €2 billion.

Meanwhile the weather has calmed down. At midnight, the German Weather Service (DWD) took down the last severe storm warnings.

On Friday during the day, it will be windy by the sea and in the mountains. But there is still the issue of slippery roads as rain and sleet showers are possible, DWD warn.

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