Heavy traffic and busy trains expected over Easter in Germany

The ADAC has warned drivers in Germany to expect long queues on Thursday and bank holiday Monday, while Deutsche Bahn has reported particularly high demand for tickets over the Easter weekend.

Travel traffic in front of the Gotthard tunnel southbound between Amsteg and Erstfeld.
Travel traffic in front of the Gotthard tunnel southbound between Amsteg and Erstfeld. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/KEYSTONE | Urs Flueeler

Those hoping to get away this Easter weekend in Germany should brace themselves for busier routes than usual, whether they’re travelling by car or by train.

Long queues on motorways

The German Automobile Association (ADAC) has warned that there is likely to be heavy traffic up and down the country.

With Covid restrictions lifted across most of the Germany and schools on holiday in most states, there is likely to be a lot more congestion than in the last two years over the long holiday weekend.

READ ALSO: What to expect if you’re travelling to Germany this Easter

It seems that high fuel prices are unlikely to deter people from driving to visit relatives or making trips to the Alps or to Germany’s northern coastline.

“The congestion situation will, therefore, be more tense than on the last two Easter holidays,” said the ADAC in Munich.

The association also expects slightly more traffic on Maundy Thursday and on Easter Monday, though Easter Sunday is expected to be quieter.

Train tickets in high demand

Deutsche Bahn is also expecting an unusually busy weekend. A railroad spokesman announced that Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, and the following Tuesday are in particularly high demand.

He advised passengers to reserve a seat or postpone their trip by a few hours or to use the days before or after the bank holiday weekend.

READ ALSO: Passengers warned of Easter delays at Berlin Brandenburg airport

From April 14th to April 24th, 50 additional trains will be in operation on routes between Berlin and Munich and between North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin, meaning ten percent more seats will be available.

At seven main stations with particularly large numbers of passengers, additional staff will also be on hand to help passengers get on and off the trains.

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Trains in northern Germany cancelled over storm

Several train services in the northern half of the country are being cancelled due to severe weather warnings.

Trains in northern Germany cancelled over storm

After storm Ylenia hit the country on Wednesday night and Thursday, a new weather front called Zeynep is expected on Friday afternoon, bringing with it extreme winds and lots of rain.

And it’s having an impact on travel. 

Deutsche Bahn said on Friday that several regional and long-distance services in the northern half of the country were being suspended.

The suspension of regional services affects Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Bremen, as well as parts of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The cancellations will take place gradually “during the course of the day”, the spokesperson said. In North Rhine-Westphalia, this was to begin on some lines from 2pm.

READ ALSO: Germany issues extreme weather warning for next storm

In the long-distance network, connections from Hamburg in the direction of Berlin, Hanover and Cologne are affected. ICE and IC services on the east-west route between Cologne via Hanover to Berlin were also suspended on Friday. 

Deutsche Bahn said there would be “no more long-distance trains north of Dortmund, Hanover and Berlin”.

Meanwhile, ICE and IC trains between Frankfurt(Main) or Berlin and Amsterdam have been cancelled throughout the day.

Free cancellation of tickets

The Deutsche Bahn spokesperson told Germany’s Tagesschau that the cancellations are due to “severe” storm warnings.

The rail operator is strongly advising that passengers postpone their journeys and rebook. Passengers can use their tickets booked for the period from Thursday to Sunday flexibly until February 27th, or cancel them free of charge if they postpone journeys because of the storm.

If that isn’t possible, passengers have been strongly advised to stay informed about the current storm and possibility of delays and cancellations.

Gusts of up to 160 km/h are predicted in some parts of northern Germany. 

Forecasters at the German Weather Service (DWD) predict storm Zeynep will affect the northern half and centre of Germany from Friday afternoon until early Saturday morning.