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UPDATE: How a cargo train collision is disrupting travel across Germany

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UPDATE: How a cargo train collision is disrupting travel across Germany
An aerial photo shows the impact of the collision between two cargo trains on Thursday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Bundespolizeiinspektion Hannover | ---

Long-distance and regional rail routes have been severely affected by a major collision that occurred on Thursday, with disruption due to last until late November. Here's how passengers across Germany are affected.


What's going on?

On Thursday morning, two large cargo trains collided on a stretch of rail track between Wolfsburg and Hannover. According to a spokesperson from the fire brigade, the first freight train had stopped at a signal near the town of Gifhorn when the second train ploughed into it from the back.

It's still unclear what caused the incident. Both of the train drivers were injured, with the second being taken to hospital. 

The force of the impact ripped out the overhead lines and at least two carriages transporting propane gas were overturned, while two further carriages were derailed. 


It caused highly explosive propane gas to leak out of the carriages, meaning emergency services have so far been unable to start clearing the area. 

The accident occurred in a relatively remote stretch of woodland and police say residents of Gifhorn won't be affected. However, the location of the incident on one of the busiest stretches of Germany's rail network means that it has had a significant impact on train services. 

READ ALSO: Train collision in northern Germany causes nationwide travel delays

Which routes are affected? 

As a result of the collision, a significant portion of the railway track between Wolfsburg and Lehrte has been cordoned off, which means numerous services have had to be diverted.

These include long-distance trains travelling from North-Rhine Westphalia to Berlin via Hanover, trains from Switzerland to Berlin via Frankfurt and services between Amsterdam and Berlin. 

According to the latest Deutsche Bahn information, the following trains have been cancelled:

  • ICE Line 9: Berlin - Bonn
  • Some ICE/IC Line 24 trains: Hamburg - Hannover - Berlin / Berlin - Frankfurt/Süddeutschland
  • Some IC Line 26 trains: Berlin - Hannover - Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe - Fulda - Frankfurt/Süddeutschland
  • Some IC Line 32 trains: Berlin - Hannover - Dortmund - Köln - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Ulm
  • IC Line 56: Dresden - Leipzig - Magdeburg - Hannover - Bremen - Emden - Norddeich Mole

There is also disruption on the following routes: 

ICE trains from Hamm and Münster to Berlin via Hanover: Trains from Hamm or Münster to Berlin will be diverted and will make a stop at Stendal rather than Wolfsburg. This is expected to add at least 90 minutes to the travel time for passengers travelling from Münster and at least 60 minutes to the travel time for passengers travelling from Hanover. 

READ ALSO: ‘A disaster’: How did train travel in Germany get so bad?

ICE trains from Switzerland to Berlin via Frankfurt: ICE trains from Switzerland to Berlin will be diverted and will no longer stop at Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe, Göttingen and Wolfsburg. Alternatively, passengers can exit the train at Erfurt and Halle.

IC trains from Amsterdam to Berlin via Hanover: IC trains between Amsterdam and Berlin will terminate in Hanover. Passengers travelling onwards to Berlin can change to the diverted ICE train, which stops at Stendal rather than Wolfsburg. Those travelling on to Wolfsburg can take the RE35 between Stendal and Wolfsburg. This journey is expected to take around an hour.

IC trains from Leipzig to Hanover via Magdeburg: IC trains will no longer be running between Leipzig and Hanover. Passengers should take alternative routes via Stendal, Halle or Berlin. 

IC trains from Ostseebad Binz to Cologne via Berlin will terminate at Berlin Ostbahnhof.


IC trains from Cologne to Dresden via Hanover will no longer run between Cologne and Braunschweig. 

Trains from Berlin to Göttingen are also affected by the track closure. Deutsche Bahn says passengers will be able to take an alternative ICE train to Erfurt and then change to the RE1 to Göttingen, which takes around one hour and 40 minutes. 

Between Berlin and Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe, the railway recommends using long-distance intercity trains and changing at Eisenach or Fulda.

How long will the disruption last?

According to Deutsche Bahn, a number of routes will be affected until at least November 27th.

That's because emergency services still have to wait until the propane gas tanks are completely empty before they can access the area, and the subsequent clean-up operation may take a number of days. 

People travelling on any of the disrupted routes should keep an eye on the Deutsche Bahn website or DB Navigator app for updates. You can also find alternative routes by running your start and end destination through DB's journey planning tool online.

If your route is affected, check out our explainer below to learn whether you could be entitled to compensation. 

READ ALSO: What are my rights if a train is delayed or cancelled in Germany?



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