Freight News, Rail

Rail Freight Group boss denounces German ‘shambles’

[ September 8, 2017   //   ]

Rail Freight Group chairman Tony Berkeley has described German infrastructure operator DB Netz as “like rabbits caught in a car headlight” in the wake of the Radstatt disaster – in which an engineering mishap caused the closure of one of the most heavily used intermodal corridors in Europe.

He says that, a According to operators, only 15% of the normal 200 intermodal trains per day can operate on diversion routes with some services delayed by up to two weeks. He says that customers are furious with DB for not having contingency plans – for example, with with neighbouring infrastructure managers such as SNCF Reseau in France and OBB infrastructurein Austria – as required under EU law.

With SNCF President Guillaume Pepy, the on holiday, it was left to European Rail Freight Association (ERFA) members SBB Cargo, BLS Cargo and Hupac to demand co-ordination between the different railway undertakings.

Moreover, there wass no relaxation of the language rule in France, there are not enough diesel locos to use on the non electrified diversion routes finally arranged, “and of course, DB (German Railways) ensured that most of the diversion paths available went to DB trains,” he added.

He adds: “Other operators are suffering very badly; they must claim compensation from DB and the German Government and insist that this does not get bogged down in the German courts for years.  After all, in the UK, if Network Rail closes a line, it has to pay compensation on terms dictated by the Office of Rail Regulation, often running into many millions.”

“The compensation must be high enough to influence behaviour; in the UK it does incentivise Network Rail to speed up work; in Germany, any compensation does not seem to have the same effect on DB Netz, perhaps since most of the trains that are delayed are operated by DB Cargo who cannot really take their own integrated infrastructure manager to court.”


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