The story appears on

Page A10

July 21, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Berlin's rail safety called into question

CENTRAL Berlin's local rail service was severely disrupted yesterday due to enforced safety checks, affecting more than 400,000 travelers.

The idling of up to 386 of Deutsche Bahn's 551 S-Bahn trains is expected to last until December due to safety checks on wheels that were ordered by the federal rail authority.

Berlin's usually efficient rail service had been gradually deteriorating in recent weeks before yesterday, when hundreds more trains were suddenly taken off for the extensive safety checks. About 1.3 million people use the trains every day.

Many passengers were forced to switch to packed underground trains or buses. "I'm annoyed and really angry," said Mario Schneider, a passenger stranded at Ostbahnhof station. "It's clearly the management's fault. They should be sacked, they get off too lightly."

Two months before a federal election and ahead of August's World Athletics Championships, the unscheduled interruption of Berlin's rapid transit rail service has prompted an ugly round of finger-pointing between Bahn and local officials.

Political leaders fault Deutsche Bahn's privatization efforts and cost-cutting for the transport fiasco. Deutsche Bahn said the manufacturers of the equipment are to blame.

The idling of so many trains has given fresh ammunition to critics of the Bahn's planned privatization.

Yesterday only one in three S-Bahn trains was in use, while inner-city service between Ostbahnhof and Zoo stations - two major city centre hubs - was completely suspended.

The safety checks were ordered by the federal rail authority after a cracked wheel caused the derailment of a train in May.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend