Rhine Valley rail traffic partially resumes on 2 May

Scene from the MIddle Rhine Valley landslide

Following one and a half month of disruption, rail freight traffic through the Middle Rhine Valley will start getting back to normal, beginning on 2 May. The infrastructure manager DB Netze announced that after weeks of works to remove the fallen rocks, stabilise the slopes and make sure that operations can take place safely, freight trains will be able to use one of the two tracks again, with a frequency of up to a train per hour.

The infrastructure manager listened to the desperate calls of the European railway industry to communicate the situation better and provide reliable forecasts after being subject to harsh and unanimous criticism. Consequently, it provided the companies with a specific estimation concerning the resuming of their services through the route.

Protective wall

The team of specialists with whom DB Netze cooperates has decided to build a six-metre-high and hundred metres long wall to protect the rail tracks from future natural disasters. The geologists are implementing some extra safety measures behind the wall and on the rocky slopes, including 620 rock anchors and a protective net to keep rocks and soil from sliding unexpectedly.

“With the Wall, in addition to the existing fences, we ensure safe rail traffic permanently. Moreover, together with the competent authorities, we make sure that the building fits optimally into the landscape”, commented DB Netze’s advisory geologist Dr Jürgen Matthesius. In total, it seems that the responsible parties are doing a serious and well-calculated job at the site to avoid similar situations in the future. After completing the works, trains will roll through both tracks, even though the time frame for this development is still uncertain.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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