Two difficult days have started for rail travelers and commuters. A strike by the GDL train drivers’ union is largely paralyzing the passenger transport of Deutsche Bahn. The replacement plan has started, a railroad spokesperson said. “The first effects of the strike are being felt,” he said.
Although the GDL was not available for information overnight, passenger trains at many stations came to a standstill in the morning, the platforms were empty, as photos show. “The train is canceled” was often seen on billboards for various travel destinations. The walkout was to begin at 2 a.m. The union has been on strike in the freight transport sector since the evening.
Thousands of passengers have to improvise, alternative schedules apply. In long-distance traffic, around one in four trains is still expected to run. It is also likely that there are significant outages in regional traffic and on the S-Bahn. The strike is due to end on Friday evening.
The railroad asked passengers to postpone trips that were not absolutely necessary. Due to the corona virus, she also called to consider trains. The strike hits passengers in the middle of the high holiday season: in eleven of the 16 Länder there are school holidays. Cross-border links and subsequent trips are also concerned.
Restrictions are also possible with rail competitors
Bahn’s personnel manager, Martin Seiler, called the strike “completely inappropriate and excessive”. GDL boss Claus Weselsky spoke of the unresolved collective bargaining dispute. “With this first signal, management must realize that eating cherries is not good for us.” Passenger association Pro Bahn has called for reliable information to be provided to rail customers. “Nothing is more annoying than waiting for a train during a strike that doesn’t turn out badly.”
The competitors of Deutsche Bahn are not on strike. They hold considerable market shares in regional transport and freight transport. However, restrictions are also possible for them if the dispatchers also join the GDL strike.