Trouble is in the air between Germany and Switzerland. The reason: the state company Deutsche Bahn now causes the neighbors more than just a headache.
After the Swiss have had the trains from the large neighboring country on their backs for months because of their unpunctuality, which is messing up the Swiss timetable, things have now really cracked.
Amount of damage in the three-digit million range
On August 10, a freight train pulled by two German locomotives and carrying numerous wagons from Germany derailed at the most sensitive point on the most important north-south railway connection in Europe, the Gotthard base tunnel. Since then the track has been broken.
The first freight trains have been able to run again since this week, but passenger trains will probably have to use the much longer “Panorama route”, which leads further up over the Gotthard, until the beginning of next year.
In addition to the material damage, there is a delay that is likely to add up to more than 2000 hours over the next few months. The amount of damage is likely to be in the three-digit million range and could ultimately have to be paid for by the Germans.
It is still unclear who should be liable for the damage
The accident train was pulled by two locomotives of the 185 series of the Deutsche Bahn. Of the ten undamaged cars that have since been pulled out of the tunnel, eight are registered in Germany, one in Sweden and one in Switzerland.
It remains unclear who is liable. Deutsche Bahn does not want to comment on the accident on request, but refers to the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).
But there, too, one is closed: the course and cause of the accident are being clarified by the responsible authorities, which are the Swiss Safety Investigation Center and the public prosecutor’s office of the canton of Ticino.
“We are currently unable to comment on liability issues,” said a spokesman.
Switzerland hardly allows German trains to cross the border anymore
The accident comes at a time when the relationship between the two state-owned companies is already tense. The SBB, which is famous worldwide for its reliability and punctuality, is allowing fewer and fewer Deutsche Bahn ICE trains into the country.
The delays would have “negative effects on the punctuality of trains within Switzerland,” the company said in the summer.
Many travelers from Germany therefore have to leave their trains at the border and change to the next SBB train. The fact that German trains, as originally stated in the timetable, travel to their destinations in Switzerland themselves is now the exception.
“International trains carry a high risk of delays”
“Anyone who means it particularly badly with Deutsche Bahn may be asking themselves why the transport company still draws up timetables at all,” scoffed the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, which is published in Munich.
The people of Munich are also affected because the EC trains that actually go to Zurich from there now end up at the border in St. Margrethen.
The director of the Swiss Federal Office of Transport, Peter Füglistaler, recently wrote in the nicest official Swiss language: “International trains with integrated regular schedules harbor a high risk of delays.”
The contribution “Now the conflict between Swiss and German railways has “derailed”” comes from economic courier.