Transport disruption as storms and snow hit southwest Germany

Transport disruption as storms and snow hit southwest Germany
An overturned bus in a field next to the B10 near Baden-Württemberg, Tomerdingen. Source: DPA
On Thursday night, heavy snowfall and strong winds caused considerable problems for road and rail traffic in the south and southwest of Germany and restrictions were still in place on some Deutsche Bahn routes on Friday.

Train and car drivers in many German states have managed to cope with the treacherous weather conditions of snow, ice and storms. Most people have remained unaffected, although there were injuries as a result of a bus crash. This winter interlude should, however, not last too long.

A bus carrying tourists from Croatia was caught by strong winds on an icy road and overturned in Ulm, injuring eight people – two of them severely.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, a motorist died in an accident on a slippery road. According to police stations in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Bavaria, the situation had calmed down by the early morning. 

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Warmer over the weekend

However, the revival of winter will not last long: according to the German Weather Service (DWD), it will be significantly warmer over the weekend. 

In other parts of the country, emergency services were called to attend numerous incidents during the night; mostly fallen trees, street signs or fences. Most of the other accidents caused only minor injuries.

Commuters and train passengers in Baden-Württemberg will still have to put up with regional traffic restrictions as, according to Deutsche Bahn, the Black Forest Railway between Triberg and Villingen-Schwenningen and the connection between Schrozberg (Schwäbisch Hall district) and Franconian Niederstetten were still closed on Friday morning. 

A train in Munich battles heavy snow. Source: DPA

Passengers in the Franconian town of Leutershausen had to wait an hour as their IC train was stopped on the open track between Nuremberg and Stuttgart on Thursday evening, due to a tree that had fallen on the railway lines. 

There  were also several closures along long-distance routes on Thursday evening due to snowfall and strong winds between Offenburg and Freiburg and between Nuremberg and Würzburg. The route between Salzburg and Rosenheim was temporarily without electricity, causing delays.

In contrast, regional trains in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland have almost returned to normal service. Most routes which were impeded by the storms are now open again, said a spokesman for the Deutsche Bahn on Friday morning.

The 48-year-old driver and a 53-year-old passenger were seriously injured in the bus crash on the B10 near Ulm and the B10 had to be completely blocked for many hours. 

According to the authorities, the road could not be completely cleared until later in the morning. Two heavy-duty cranes were needed to salvage the wreckage and the incurred damage is estimated at around €200,000.

A 21-year-old driver died in a car crash near Wolken in the Mayen-Koblenz district. According to initial police reports on Thursday afternoon, she came out of her lane and likely collided with the oncoming car of a 60-year-old. 

Treacherous conditions for drivers in Baden-Württemberg. Source: DPA

On Autobahn 48 near Ulm in Rhineland-Palatinate, several trucks started to roll and turned sideways, resulting in traffic jams in both directions on Thursday, a spokesman for the motorway police in Mendig reported.

Heavy snowfall and icy roads caused numerous emergency service call-outs in the district of Würzburg. The Region’s Bavarian Red Cross branch reported accidents and storm-related injuries. 

In Hesse, snowfall and slippery roads caused motorists to skid in rush hour. A police spokesman reported particularly severe traffic problems on major roads in Hochtaunuskreis, where there were a number of accidents caused by skidding. 

The majority of incidents involved only sheet metal damage, although the police spokesman also reported several minor injuries. It was also icy and slippery on many streets in central and eastern Hesse, especially in the higher regions.

Translated by Sarah Magill


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