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German travel chaos blamed on lack of investment in railways

Kate Connolly

Kate Connolly

Decades of underinvestment in the German railways have been blamed for chaos in parts of the country after heavy snow led to much of the network grinding to a halt.

Snowfall of up to half a metre in Bavaria, southern Germany, led to numerous breakdowns and prompted the cancellation of scores of trains, with signalling systems and electronic information boards frequently malfunctioning.

Across the country, both rail and road passengers were advised to cancel any unnecessary journeys amid the chaos, after Munich’s main station was closed on Saturday and the national rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) warned that “massive disruptions” would continue into the start of this week.

The head of the Railway and Transport Union, Martin Burkert, said DB was ill-equipped to deal with the weather as a result of years of underinvestment.

“The DB slogan ‘we travel in all weathers’ has lost its credibility,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper, calling large parts of Germany’s rail infrastructure “creaking and dilapidated”.

The transport minister, Volker Wissing, of the pro-business FDP, echoed the criticisms, saying the only way to tackle the problems was with a “general overhaul” of the whole network.

“There’s no way round it,” he told German media, calling the breakdowns and lack of punctuality “unsatisfactory”. He added: “This is due to neglect of the infrastructure over decades.”

Here are images from Munich airport this morning, where flights were suspended due to freezing rain.

Workers clear a towable passenger staircase from snow as Munich airport has cancelled all incoming and outgoing flights until noon due to a forecast for sleet in the region
Workers clear a towable passenger staircase from snow as Munich airport has cancelled all incoming and outgoing flights until noon due to a forecast for sleet in the region. Photograph: Angelika Warmuth/Reuters
A snowplough works next to parked planes at the Munich airport, Germany
A snowplough works next to parked planes at the Munich airport, Germany. Photograph: Anna Szilágyi/EPA
A tail fin of a Lufthansa plane is pictures behind snow at the terminal as Munich airport
A tail fin of a Lufthansa plane is pictures behind snow at the terminal as Munich airport. Photograph: Angelika Warmuth/Reuters

Munich airport suspends flights as weather disruptions continue

There are no takeoffs or landings at Munich airport this morning due to freezing rain, the airport said.

In a statement, the airport told travellers:

The operating areas will be de-iced in the first half of the day. The plan is to allow air traffic to resume from midday. However, it can be assumed that the majority of flights will also have to be cancelled during the rest of the day for safety reasons.

The airport had also shut down on Saturday after heavy snowfall.

⚠️Announced freezing rain during the night: air traffic will be suspended until 12 noon on Tuesday, December 5
On Tuesday, 5.12. there will be no take-offs and landings from the start of operations at 6 a.m. until 12 noon. pic.twitter.com/R8SvSeNqJD

— Munich Airport (@MUC_Airport) December 4, 2023

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#Munich #airport #suspends #flights #weather #disruption #continues #Europe #live #World #news

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