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Storm Zoltan: Which trains are cancelled in Germany on Friday?

Imogen Goodman
Imogen Goodman - [email protected]
Storm Zoltan: Which trains are cancelled in Germany on Friday?
Rail passengers wait on a crowded platform at Hamburg Central Station on Friday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn has announced numerous cancellations and disruptions in the wake of Storm Zoltan. Here's how severe weather could affect your Christmas travel plans.


As many in Germany look forward to finishing work for the holidays and travelling to see friends and loved ones, a major storm has wreaked havoc on rail services throughout the country.

On Thursday, Storm Zoltan struck the northern coast of Germany, with gale-force winds and torrential rain throughout the day and into the night. 

Along the banks of the Elbe, water levels reached as much as 3 metres above mean high tide and are expected to rise to as much as 5.2 metres above high tide over the course of Friday.

With heavy flooding across the northern coast and the rest of the country hit by fierce winds and rain, a number of rail services have been cancelled or are severely disrupted.

READ ALSO: Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Here are the main long-distance routes affected:

  • ICE/IC trains between Hamburg/Hanover - Kassel - Frankfurt/Stuttgart/Basel are cancelled
  • ICE trains between Hamburg/Hannover - Kassel - Würzburg - Munich are cancelled
  • ICE trains from Berlin/Leipzig/Erfurt - Frankfurt will be diverted between Erfurt and Frankfurt and will be delayed by around an hour. There will also be cancelled services at some stations along the route.
  • ICE/EC trains to and from Kiel will terminate in Hamburg. No trains will continue to Neumünster or Kiel Hauptbahnhof,
  • EC trains to and from Flensburg will terminate in Hamburg. The stops in Neumünster, Rendsburg, Schleswig and Flensburg are cancelled.
  • EC trains from Hamburg to Copenhagen start and end in Padborg. The stops in Hamburg, Rendsburg and Schleswig are cancelled.
  • ICE/IC trains to and from Norddeich Mole will terminate in Emden Hbf. The stops in Marienhafe, Norden, Norddeich and Norddeich Mole are cancelled.
  • ICE/IC trains between Cologne - Hamm - Paderborn - Kassel - Munich/Gera will be cancelled between Cologne and Kassel.
  • IC trains between Münster (W) - Siegen - Frankfurt (M)/Stuttgart will be cancelled

What alternative routes are recommended?

For travellers in Hamburg hoping to reach either Nuremberg or Munich, Deutsche Bahn recommends taking trains to Berlin or Erfurt and transferring to direct ICE trains from either of those cities.

Travellers in Hamburg hoping to reach Frankfurt, Stuttgart or Basel, meanwhile, will need to travel to Cologne and change onto another service from there. 


For passengers travelling between Hanover and southern Germany, changes in Erfurt or Cologne are your best option.

However, thanks to the weather disruption and the large number of passengers who travel over the festive period, Deutsche Bahn is expecting trains to be extremely full today and tomorrow.

With the German Weather Service (DWD) also predicting the storm to intensive on Friday evening and into Saturday, it's still unclear when services will resume as normal. 

What other transport disruptions are there? 

According to Deutsche Bahn, regional services - especially in the north of the country - are affected by Storm Zoltan, so be sure to check on the DB website or app before embarking on any planned trips.

Some local S-Bahn services have also been affected by the storm, leading to reduced or delayed services throughout the day.


Ferries from the northern coast - including the service between Rostock and Gedser in Denmark - have also been cancelled due to the harsh weather conditions.

Can rail passengers get a refund or travel on another day?

Yes - and that might be your best option if you're flexible with the timing of your trip. 

According to Deutsche Bahn, anyone whose journey was disrupted on December 21st and 22nd as a result of Storm Zoltan can use their journey at any time in the future, regardless of which connections they take.

That means that any tickets on a cancelled or disrupted train for these dates will be valid for any journey that ends at your original destination, even if you travel via different route. 

Seat reservations can be cancelled free of charge. In most cases, passengers will also be entitled to refunds. 

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


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