Extreme cold wreaks havoc on suburban trains in Munich and Berlin

Munich’s Ostbahnof was completely closed down on Wednesday morning after freezing temperatures made regular service impossible. In Berlin the situation was only slightly better.

Extreme cold wreaks havoc on suburban trains in Munich and Berlin
A broken down S-Bahn train in Munich on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

The closure of Ostbahnhof, one of the main stations in the Bavarian capital, meant that all S-Bahn lines and regional trains travelling in and out of the city’s east were affected, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

Deutsche Bahn said that the extremely cold temperatures had caused a problem with the switches at the busy station meaning the rails could not be properly connected.

The situation was fixed later on Wednesday morning, and the S2, S3, S6 and S8 lines had all resumed regular service.

This was the third day of rail disruptions in Munich. On Tuesday the airport was unreachable for more than an hour and on Monday passengers were left sitting in trains for hours waiting for the line to be repaired.

DB has named various causes for the chaos, including defective overhead wiring and broken down trains.

In Berlin the S-Bahn was also hit by major problems on Wednesday morning, as defective switches caused delays on the Ringbahn.

Berlin daily Tagesspiegel reports that the cold weather was behind the switch problems. The key S41 line was only running every ten minutes on Wednesday morning. The S3, S5, S7, S75 and S9 were all also running irregularly.

Just like in Munich, this was the third day of delays on the suburban rail lines.

The German Weather Service has said that the weather will begin to improve on Thursday.


What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

Parts of Germany will see another heatwave this week as temperatures soar.

What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

The German Weather Service (DWD) has predicted that the mercury will climb in some regions of to around 34C this week. 

“After low pressure ‘Karin’ gave parts of Germany rain, sometimes in large quantities, high pressure ‘Piet’ is now back in pole position,” said meteorologist Lars Kirchhübel of the DWD.

This high pressure zone will dominate the weather in large parts of western and central Europe over the coming days, the weather expert said, adding that it will reach Germany too. 

On Monday temperatures remained fairly cool across the country after a weekend of showers, but they are set to climb over the course of the week, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters predict it could reach 32C in Stuttgart and 33C in Cologne on Thursday. Locally, temperatures could reach 34C. 

However, from the Oder and Neisse rivers to the Erzgebirge mountains and southeast Bavaria, denser clouds and some showers are to be expected. This is due to a high-level low pressure system over the Balkan region, according to forecasters. Short showers are also possible in the Black Forest.

“In most of the rest of the country, high ‘Piet’ will be able to hold its ground,” said Kirchhübel.

READ ALSO: Heavy rain in Bavaria swells rivers, but flooding avoided

At the end of the week, thunderstorms are forecast but temperatures are expected to remain high. 

August in Germany ‘too dry’

According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, August as a whole – apart from a few areas in eastern Germany – will be too dry compared to the multi-year average.

The Black Forest, the High Rhine and the Allgäu to the Bavarian Forest, however, are not expected to have any major problems due to the high rainfall of the past few days.

“Looking at Rhineland-Palatinate, the southern half of Hesse, the western half of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Franconia shows a different picture,” said Kirchhübel. In the last 30 days, only about 10 percent of the usual level of precipitation fell in some places.

“At some stations, no precipitation at all has been measured in August,” added Kirchhübel, referencing Würzburg as an example.

Rainfall at the weekend caused the water in the Rhine river to rise slightly. In Emmerich, the water level reached a positive value again after the historic low of the past few days: in the morning, it showed three centimetres – an increase of six centimetres compared to the previous day.

The water level also rose by several centimetres at the other measuring points in North Rhine-Westphalia: in Cologne, the level rose to 80cm and in Düsseldorf to 38cm.

READ ALSO: Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

Despite this encouraging trend, the Waterways and Shipping Authority said it did not expect a huge improvement in water levels in the foreseeable future due to more hot weather coming.