Up to 80,000 passangers a day to be delayed by rail project near Düsseldorf

No long-distance trains are to stop at Düsseldorf Airport for six weeks and a key route will be completely closed as part of rail upgrades which will affect tens of thousands of people.

Up to 80,000 passangers a day to be delayed by rail project near Düsseldorf
File picture shows building work on a rail line in Essen. Photo: DPA

With the summer holidays about to get underway in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), many people are set to travel to and from the region.

But those setting off on a trip should be aware that a huge railway construction project will likely cause disruption.

SEE ALSO: How travelling by train in Germany is set to improve

The six-week 'Mega-Bündle', one of Deutsche Bahn's most extensive construction projects in NRW, kicks off on Friday, the start of the school holidays in the western state, reported regional newspaper the Rheinische Post.

According to Deutsche Bahn, around 70,000 to 80,000 passengers a day will be affected.

The project includes the complete closure of the railway line between Duisburg and Essen to allow for preparatory work for the Rhine-Ruhr Express, interlocking and bridge work and the renewal of the long-distance tracks between Duisburg and Düsseldorf.

One of the consequences: long-distance trains will no longer stop at Düsseldorf Airport station.

It will result in timetable changes, diversions and replacement buses. The project is due to last until August 26th.

What does this mean for passengers who want to take the train to Düsseldorf Airport?

The Airport will not be served by long-distance trains during the six week project. It’s a pretty bad time for this to happen: the airport is expecting a record this weekend, with almost 260,000 passengers expected. 

On average, about 20 percent of the passengers travel by public transport. 

“We therefore advise passengers to take this (building work) into account in their transport planning and to make sure they find out before they start their journey whether their desired train route to the airport is affected by the measures and what the alternative routes may be,” said a spokesman for the airport. 

It's not all bad though. Train travellers can reach the airport via the Düsseldorf or Duisburg main railway stations using regional and S-Bahn services.

Photo: DPA

Should air passengers be dropped off at the airport by relatives or use the long-term multi-storey car park?

“We do not generally advise people to take their cars in,” said the airport spokesman, regarding drop-offs.

With a view to the parking situation he added: “We also assume that the multi-storey car parks will be booked up, especially in the favourable long-term savings zones.”

For this reason, he recommended that passengers inform themselves at home on the website. “Passengers can obtain detailed information about current occupancy, costs and descriptions of the various parking options here.”

Where can railway customers obtain further information on the Mega Bundle?

All timetable changes have been made available by Deutsche Bahn in the “DB Bauarbeiten” app, which is available for both Android and Apple devices. 

Rail customers can filter timetable information by route, time period and local, regional or long-distance traffic. 

SEE ALSO: Why so many trains in Germany are late

The respective trains affected by construction sites are displayed. The app also indicates whether replacement rail services are available and where they can be used. By clicking on the message, more detailed information about the planned line closures and construction work becomes visible. 

Passengers can also call 0800 5996655 for more information.

What disruptions will there be away from the airport?

In long-distance traffic, there will be diversions, train cancellations and changes in journey times in both directions, especially between Dortmund and Düsseldorf. Regional traffic will also be massively impaired – in particular by the complete closure between Duisburg and Essen. 

During the day, express buses only stop in Mülheim between the main train stations of Duisburg and Essen. During the day they run every 10 minutes, in the evening every 15 minutes and at night every 30 minutes. There are also rail replacement buses that run every 10 minutes during the day and stop at the usual S1 and S3 stops.

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Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?

Several political parties in Germany have said they want to bring back sleeper trains in order to meet carbon emissions targets.

Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?
A sleeper train in Austria. Photo: dpa/APA | Georg Hochmuth

The Green party have said that they want to put state subsidies into night trains that will connect Germany with cities as far flung as St Petersburg in the north and Lisbon in the south.

According to the environmentalist party’s plans, 40 night rail lines could connect 200 destinations across the continent including islands like Mallorca, which would be linked in by train and ferry.

The Greens want the EU to buy a fleet of sleeper trains that could travel at speeds of between 200 km/h and 250 km/h.

The CDU have also announced plans to rebuild the country’s sleeper train services.

Deutsche Bahn stopped its last sleeper service in 2016 citing the high costs involved in maintaining its fleet that was not recuperated through ticket sales.

Earlier this year the state owned company said it had “no plans” to purchase new sleeper wagons.