Restrictions in rail operations
The year under review was marked by an exceptional degree of operating difficulties, which also negatively affected punctuality.
Storm Paul in June as well as Xavier and Herwart in October were three periods of severe weather resulting in widespread operational shutdowns and extensive route closures, often lasting several days. For example, storm Xavier caused several hundred trains to be non-operational at DB Cargo. Due to the serious disruption to routes and the costly clean-up, it took a week to return to normal operations.
The aftermath of storm Paul was intensified by the attacks on the railway infrastructure in the run-up to the G20 summit, which all occurred in the same period. In Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Dortmund, Leipzig and Bad Bevensen, bomb and fire attacks were carried out on cable ducts and electronic signal boxes. The disruption to the LST had an impact throughout Germany.
The ICE derailment at Dortmund main station in May also adversely affected punctuality, especially in long-distance transport. The costly repairs to points and tracks lasted three weeks and required extensive diversions.
Due to track settlement as a result of water inrush during tunnel work, the busy section between Rastatt and Baden-Baden also had to be closed for seven weeks from August 12. This had considerable implications for passenger and freight transport. Up to 30,000 passengers per day were transported with buses during the closure. Furthermore, diversions had to be put in place for the 200 freight trains that travel every day on the Rhine valley route. DB Cargo usually schedules about 80 trains on the Rhine valley railway every day. In order that as many trains as possible could use the diversion route, DB Cargo deployed additional diesel and electric locomotives and 70 train drivers throughout the period. All additional drivers had to be trained in knowledge of the line or the particular type of locomotive, as well as language skills for transport in France. As a result, between 50% and 60% of the trains were able to run and there were no bottlenecks in essential supplies of goods.
The timetable change in December was also accompanied by operating difficulties due to the onset of winter in many parts of Germany. This was compounded by the start-up problems during the commissioning of the highspeed line Berlin ‒ Munich.