German train driver strike causes disruption
Few trains today. Symbolic photo: Deutsche Bahn
A two-day strike of locomotive drivers in Germany last week has temporarily crippled railway transport across central Europe. The strike was limited to employees of Deutsche Bahn, thus not affecting its competitors across Germany. But, while many regional passenger services are operated by these competitors, DB operates almost all long distance passenger services and the majority of freight trains in Germany. While the strike technically was about a pay rise, it is also viewed as being part of a power struggle between two competing unions.
The emergency plan of Deutsche Bahn allowed for a long distance train on each route every other hour, instead the usual one or two trains per hour. Besides, they gave priority to international connections, which nevertheless ere heavily infected. This also includes freight traffic.
Staff shortage causes rail problems in Netherlands
Staff shortages were found to be a cause of delays in the rail system of the Netherlands. The situation is especially severe with towermen. If a tower is not manned, a whole segment of the rail system cannot operate. This has recently hit the main station of Utrecht and affected traffic on the Rhine-Alpine corridor. Holiday season and sickness resulted in no available staff with the necessary route knowledge. Read the news here (external link).
After floods: German federal aid to reach € 30 bn
Flood damage on regional railway line. Photo: Deutsche Bahn
A month after the catastrophic floods around northern parts of the Rhine-Alpine corridor, the corridor trunk lines are either working or have working bypasses. But much of the regional infrastructure is still closed, and many houses are waiting for repair or demolition.
The magnitude of the damage to the right and left of the trunk routes becomes apparent from the size of the German aid bill, upon which the federal government and state governors have agreed on 10 August: Over the coming years, the German government aid alone will reach € 30 billion. For comparison, if we imagine the costs of a small town family home to reach half a million Euros, the amount would equal to 60,000 such homes. This is just part of the subsidies in just one of the affected nations, so the total damage will even be substantially higher.