Rastatt Germany

DB: Karlsruhe-Basel corridor fully operational on 2 October

The international rail corridor between Karlsruhe and Basel will be fully operational on the 2nd of October. That is five days earlier than expected. Deutsche Bahn and the constructing companies have succeeded in optimising the logistical use of personnel and machines. Therefore, they expect to complete the work earlier than planned. “In this difficult situation every day counts for our customers in freight and passenger transport. Therefore, it is helpful that we get ready sooner”, said DB infrastructure manager Ronald Pofalla.

On the 12th of August, water and soil penetrated part of the new Rastatt tunnel in Germany. As a result, the ground subsided and the railway tracks above the tunnel warped. The consequences for the rail freight sector have been immense. The Karlsruhe-Basel railway line is part of the important north-south corridor connecting the ports of Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp with Switzerland and Italy. Alternative routes are only becoming accessible gradually and are subjected to limited availability. According to earlier plans, traffic would not be resumed until the 7th of October.

Line back in service

Deutsche Bahn emphasises that until the line is put back into service, the organisation of detours for freight transport remains a major task. The re-opening of the Stuttgart-Hattingen line after construction work on the 7th of September provided some extra train paths. In addition, around seventy additional train drivers are now operating on the European corridors, mainly on the detour routes via France and southern Germany to Italy.

Train drivers have also joined from abroad. According to Deutsche Bahn, the challenge for them is to not only to have the necessary knowledge of the vehicles and routes, but also the language used on these routes. DB Chairman of the Board Richard Lutz: “My colleagues and I are in regular contact with the railway workers in Switzerland, Austria and France. The cooperation works and we are grateful for that.”

Author: Marieke van Gompel

Marieke van Gompel is editor of RailFreight.com and chief editor of the ProMedia Group online magazines.

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