Information published on 5 September 2017 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 559.

Mannheim - Karlsruhe - Basle Railway: the major European railways, shoulder-to-shoulder

The major railways in Europe, shoulder-to-shoulder: The Heads of the German, Swiss, Austrian and French railways have agreed to cooperate closely in order to limit the impact of the blockage of the Mannheim - Karlsruhe - Basle line on freight traffic as far as possible. After it was made known on Tuesday that the route cannot be reopened to traffic until 7th October, Deutsche Bahn (DB), Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and French National Railways (SNCF) agreed on a comprehensive package of measures.

The end of the holiday season is traditionally accompanied by a strong increase in freight traffic on the North - South corridor. Without coordinated action, demand could not be fully met in the coming weeks. With their initiative, the four railway Heads wish to keep the impact of the blockage of the Mannheim - Karlsruhe - Basle line on both freight customers and passengers to an absolute minimum. In addition, the four railway Heads, Dr. Richard Lutz (DB), Andreas Meyer (SBB), Andreas Matthä (ÖBB) and Guillaume Pepy (SNCF) have agreed to consult closely and regularly with each other. The four Chairmen were in agreement that overcoming the forthcoming challenges was only possible together.

DB Management Board Chairman Dr. Richard Lutz: “Rail freight traffic is an important backbone of the European economy. Together with our partners, we are acting in close cooperation to assure the flow of goods. I would like to express my thanks to the other railways and their Heads for their rapid and unbureaucratic assistance. This is not only a sign of the functioning of integrated railway systems, but also of the close and excellent partnership between the major European railways. With our intensive cooperation across the borders, we are showing that we are supporting our freight customers with all our strength.”

In addition to the measures already taken, the four railways are jointly providing additional locomotives and train crews for the corridors through France and Austria. This allows an efficient use of the various diversionary corridors, which are being coordinated together with our partner railways. To further facilitate running from Germany to Switzerland, we are looking intensively at the possibility of setting up freight shuttle services between Kornwestheim and Zurich. It is intended that the sites of planned engineering work should be adapted in the short term, in order to create additional paths on diversionary routes for freight services as quickly as possible.

Source: (DB)