Stress for Siegburg commuters ICE passengers annoyed with Deutsche Bahn
Siegburg · The Siegburg train station is practically cut off from all long distance connections, since the fire on the ICE fast track between Cologne and Frankfurt. Passengers report delays and overcrowded trains, already prior to the ICE fire.
Siegburg commuters are annoyed. They are writing letters of protest to the Deutsche Bahn, asking customer service portals about details and exchanging their opinions on social networks. As reported, the Siegburg train station is practically cut off from all long distance connections, since the fire on the ICE fast track between Cologne and Frankfurt. For many commuters this means that they have to consider working from home, taking remaining holidays or accepting time-consuming detours around Cologne, as it appears from what the people concerned report to the General-Anzeiger newspaper.
According to a press release of the Deutsche Bahn, the second rail of the fast track will be open again from November 18. „The ICE trains will resume their regular timetable then, as usual“, the statement read. Although due to some speed limits some short delays of a few minutes might still occur. At the start of December the entire route should be back to normal.
„I’m commuting for over ten years on a daily basis from Siegburg to Frankfurt, as are many hundreds of other people, whom I see on the trains for years and kind of know by now“, said one person affected, who lives in Sankt Augustin.
The daily commute is based on the original assumption that the connection works without any problems, each day. „That was the case during the first few years. You could rely on the trains being on time, getting a seat and arriving on time at your planned destination“, said the commuter. For the last few month, commuting turned into a stressful affair. „It started with trains arriving only as one-piece trains.“ The Sankt Augustin man reports of technical problems and delays. And says that often the trains don’t continue due to overcrowded carriages.
„Fellow passengers who didn’t get a seat, have to leave the train. Because that doesn’t happen voluntarily obviously, the Bahn is trying to convince people by handing out vouchers. If that isn’t enough, trains get cleared by the Federal Police or the train waits until enough passengers get off.“
Since the ICE fire there are practically no direct connections to Frankfurt: One at 5.41am and the next one at 9.48am. Changing at Cologne is not a feasible alternative for most passengers. „The entire route then exceeds the amount of time that a commuter allows on a daily basis, especially because changing each additional time causes a lot more stress“, sad the customer.
One man from Königswinter-Vinxel reports that he has experienced trains being overcrowded since the timetable change. „The Deutsche Bahn didn’t have enough trains of the type ICE 3 even before the high speed track between Berlin and Munich was established. As that connection is politically important, the Bahn saves money where there is no public focus. And that unfortunately is the Cologne-Frankfurt route.“
He does not understand the current missed stops in Siegburg/Bonn and fears that the Deutsche Bahn is testing the missing stops situation for 2019: With the next timetable change the much slower ICE 4 will be used for the Cologne-Rhine/Main route. With that, four ICE stops will be taken out in Siegburg.
The commuters are not happy with the Deutsche Bahn’s crisis management. „I can understand that one needs to do repairs after an accident. But we get the impression that the Deutsche Bahn considers the paying customers an „annoying extra““, said the man from Vinxel.
One reader from Hangelar already approached the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg (VRS), because the situation in the regional trains worsened so much: „Hundreds of long distance travellers going to Siegburg are now trying to squeeze into already packed regional trains and trams in Cologne.“
Original text: Bettina Köhl
Translation: Mareike Graepel