German Rail Travel Disrupted Due to Investment Shortage

( – The German state of Bavaria was buried by heavy snowfall over the weekend, prompting a cancellation of flights and long-distance rail in and out of Munich as the city battled icy road conditions, Reuters reported.

All departure and arrival flights were canceled until at least 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. Meanwhile, trains were unable to arrive at Munich’s central station with the hold on rail travel expected to last all day Sunday leading to considerable delays on Monday.

Local outlets reported multiple traffic accidents and jams as ice blanketed roadways while the German Weather Service estimated another 30-40 centimeters of snowfall by Saturday evening.

Martin Burkert, the head of the Railway and Transport Union, blasted the state-owned Deutsche Bahn railway company for the cancellations and delays, arguing that years of under-investment left the agency ill-equipped to operate during heavy snowfall and ice, the UK Guardian reported.

Burkert told the German paper Augsburger Allgemeine that Deutsche Bahn’s slogan, “We travel in all weathers” lost all credibility. According to Burkert, large sections of the German rail infrastructure have become “creaking and dilapidated.”

Detlef Neuß of Pro Bahn, a non-profit group that represents German public transportation users, said in the past, Deutsche Bahn had been better equipped to deal with severe weather conditions and suggested that it should focus on ensuring daily operations rather than on “turning a fat profit.”

In a report earlier this year, the Bundesrechnungshof, Germany’s national audit office, said Deutsche Bahn is in “permanent crisis,” with debts amounting to €30 billion.

Germany’s Transport Minister Volker Wissing told German media that the only way to address the problems with Deutsche Bahn was to overhaul the entire rail network. Describing the frequent breakdowns and delays as “unsatisfactory,” Wissing blamed the problems on decades of neglect in the rail infrastructure.

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