Level crossing at the Weck plant Barriers down for 20 minutes plus

Duisdorf · Drivers are frustrated by the long closing times at the railway crossing at the Weck plant in Bonn-Duisdorf. Many are currently venting their anger on social media. How the Deutsche Bahn justifies the situation and why a Bonn transport politician considers these explanations to be a pretence? Here’s more information.

 The controversial level crossing at the Weck plant.

The controversial level crossing at the Weck plant.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

Ten minutes is "normal", but a waiting time of 20 minutes is also not uncommon. The long closing times at the level crossing at the Weck plant are once again causing a lot of frustration among motorists.

Many are currently venting their anger on social media. "Outrageous", a "railway crossing of deceleration" or "is this actually normal?" are just some of the comments that have been posted in recent days. What is particularly frustrating for many, however, is that trains only occasionally pass the line during the long waiting time.

Rolf Beu, transport policy spokesman for the Green parliamentary group and member of VRS and go.Rheinland, suspects that this is not a matter of necessity, but still a matter of calculation. "Deutsche Bahn has not yet given up on achieving the closure of the level crossing at the Weck plant, which was promised to it many years ago by the former mayor of the municipality of Alfter, despite political resistance," he says. "As this does not appear to be so easy to implement legally in a foreign municipality - Bonn is not Alfter - she has been trying to wear down the users of the level crossing for years. If hardly anyone uses the level crossing because of the excessive waiting times at the barriers, DB can use the lack of demand to justify its redundancy," he says, assessing the situation.

Local politicians "honestly have no legal influence over the state-owned company". The usual tactic of exerting influence via members of the state and federal parliaments has already been played many times. "The result, much to the annoyance of DB, was that the level crossing will still exist in 2023. It would be dishonest to promise more," says Beu.

Level crossing must be "cleared"

Deutsche Bahn takes a different view of the current situation in the Weck plant area. According to a railway spokesperson, the closing times "have remained unchanged since the adaptation and software update to the Euskirchen electronic signal box around four years ago". According to Deutsche Bahn, this means in detail that the Alter Heerweg level crossing in Duisdorf is one with a so-called "full barrier closure". In order to allow trains to cross a level crossing with this type of protection, it must be "cleared". "This means that the level crossing must be cleared of people and vehicles, i.e. "free". This is because, unlike with half-barriers, the crossing cannot simply be cleared in the event of danger," says the spokesperson.

The appropriate signals are only given after this clearance has been signalled. "Depending on the route constellation, this circumstance unfortunately leads to correspondingly long closing times, especially during the many train journeys at peak times," the railway argues. It is even possible that the level crossing does not open or only opens briefly after a train has passed because the track in the opposite direction has already been activated by another train. Longer waiting times could therefore not always be avoided. "Unfortunately, a general shortening of the closing times is not possible due to the safety requirements," said the spokesperson in response to a GA enquiry.

Closure planned for early 2030

At the same time, the company is looking to the future: "The replacement structure/closure of the level crossing is scheduled to go into operation in January 2030. As part of the ongoing planning law procedure, all public interest organisations and local companies will be involved in the planning," the information states. The planning had already been adjusted in the past at the request of those involved, as it was originally assumed that the crossing would be closed "without replacement". "Without replacement because the Almaweg road overpass provides a crossing-free alternative crossing at a sufficient and reasonable distance," says the railway company. However, the planned design now envisages a tunnel crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.

The alternative route via Almaweg is currently the best option for Uwe H. to get to his destination on time. "Every time I don't take the bridge and stand at the barrier, I think to myself: not next time," he writes.

(Orig. text: Gabriele Immenkeppel / Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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