Bornheim/Bonn Little is happening at the stations in Sechtem and Roisdorf currently, where there is only one train per hour and direction stops. The reason for this can be found in Bonn.
It is not long ago that there was nothing happening on the railroad line between Sechtem and Bonn. For four weeks between mid-July and mid-August there was no train running, instead buses were running because of work on the overhead line. Now connections are failing again. This time not all, but yet commuters from Roisdorf and Sechtem have to wait a long time until a train stops at their stations - until September 10.
Due to recent construction work, the Regionalbahn (RB) 48 between Brühl and Bonn-Mehlem has been down since Monday. Although its operator National Express points out that passengers can switch to the RB 26 and the Regional Express (RE) 5. However, only the RB 26 also stops at the foothill stations - and only once an hour in each direction.
Sechtem's local head Rainer Züge reports that on Monday his daughter had massive problems getting on the train in the morning to go to school in Bonn. The train, leaving at 7:17 a.m., had been completely overcrowded because it also contained people who would otherwise be travelling sooner or later. Keeping a distance as a Corona protection was hardly possible, said Züge. His daughter should not have been left alone with the problem.
Another Sechtemer commuter to Cologne reports that the trains she took were not as full as feared. However, she criticises the lack of information about the restrictions. "None of her acquaintances, who are experienced in public transport, saw an announcement before," she says. Roisdorf's local manager Gabriele Kretschmer knows of no complaints. However, commuters from the district can also use the city railroad line 18 - Sechtemer does not.
Closures due to construction work are scheduled long in advance
Meanwhile, criticism is also coming from Bonn, where there are at least two connections through RB 26 and RE 5. Irmgard Henseler commutes from Bonn to work in the south of Cologne. Due to the restrictions the trains are even fuller than usual, she says. Especially since an entire school class got on on Monday.
The reason for the blockage is in Bonn, more precisely it’s because of the renovation of the Viktoria Bridge near the main station, which will take several years. As Isabel Klotz from the press office of the city of Bonn says, the west side of the bridge is currently being demolished. For this reason, she says, it is necessary for Deutsche Bahn, as the line operator, to block a track.
According to the city of Bonn, track closures have been agreed or planned well in advance. This also has to do with the schedule for the bridge work. It was therefore not possible to combine this with the overhead line work in the summer.
The Rhineland Regional Transport Association is responsible for the organisation of local rail passenger transport in the region. Its speaker Benjamin Jeschor says that because of the track closure only one RB and one RE line could drive per hour. The RB 26 is operating, because it has somewhat more seats and a longer distance than the RB 48. "Also the long-distance traffic and the goods traffic must accept restrictions", says Jeschor.
During the construction work in the summer, the RE 5, coming from the north, stopped in Sechtem as an exception to relieve the traffic, but then did not continue on to Bonn because of the full closure. In addition, stopping points were omitted in the Cologne city area.
According to Jeschor, however, stopping the RE 5 in Sechtem is not an option. "Due to the very tight driving conditions at the Cologne rail junction it is not possible to make two additional stops," he says. The line is already overloaded. In principle, the plan is for the RB 26 to run with three instead of two cars per connection, Jeschor continues. At the moment the existing contingent is not sufficient, new vehicles have been ordered. In addition, the platform in Mehlem would have to be extended.
(Original text: Christoph Meurer and Thomas Leurs / Translation: Mareike Graepel)