Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Travel restrictions in Austria and Germany

Deutsche Bahn cancels 50-hour strike, but travel restrictions remain until Tuesday. Learn about train cancellations, shuttle services, and ongoing negotiations.

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Lisa Fischer
Lisa Fischer
Lisa Fischer is a seasoned journalist with a talent for uncovering hidden stories. With over nine years of experience, she has made a name for herself in the industry with her insightful reporting and writing. Lisa holds a degree in journalism from the University of Vienna and has worked for prominent Austrian newspapers. Her work has been recognized with several awards and she is committed to delivering thoughtful and thought-provoking journalism to her readers. Known for her persistence and integrity, Lisa is a valuable member of the Austrian journalism community.
Travel restrictions in Austria

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has called off its 50-hour warning strike, but travelers in Austria and Germany should still be prepared for ongoing restrictions until Tuesday. DB has announced that one-third of long-distance trains scheduled for Monday will be canceled, impacting travel plans for many passengers. The Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) will also be affected by these disruptions. However, in an effort to mitigate the inconvenience caused by the strike, ÖBB will provide an hourly shuttle service for Railjet trains via Deutsches Eck on both Monday and Tuesday. This temporary solution aims to facilitate smoother journeys for passengers during this period of uncertainty. Night travel is expected to resume on Tuesday night, bringing relief to those who rely on late-night train services.

Under the revised arrangements, all Railjets will now depart and arrive at Salzburg and Kufstein. Passengers will then transfer to the shuttle train, which will transport them across Deutsches Eck. Although this may result in slightly longer travel times due to the additional transfers, it eliminates the need for a two-hour detour via the inner-Austrian route. ÖBB has taken this approach to minimize disruptions and ensure that passengers can reach their destinations with minimal inconvenience.

The status of RJX connections between Salzburg and Munich remains uncertain, as ÖBB and Deutsche Bahn continue to coordinate their efforts. Passengers traveling on the Zurich-Bregenz-Munich line will experience changes, as long-distance trains will now originate and terminate at St. Margrethen. Unfortunately, this means that EC trains between St. Margrethen and Munich have been canceled, further impacting the travel options available to passengers along this route.

On a positive note, local transport services provided by ÖBB will operate according to their regular timetables. However, there may be some isolated restrictions on the Scharnitz-Mittenwald route. To avoid any inconvenience, ÖBB advises passengers to verify their planned connections using the ÖBB timetable information on the Scotty platform, the ÖBB mobile application, or by contacting the ÖBB customer service team directly.

Meanwhile, the Westbahn, which connects Vienna to Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Munich, will maintain its regular timetable for trains heading to Innsbruck. Notably, no rail replacement service will be available for the German corner. However, there will be adjustments to the Salzburg-Munich timetable, with three trains operating in each direction on Monday and four or five trains on Tuesday.

Passengers holding tickets for Monday or Tuesday can also use them on Sunday and Wednesday, providing some flexibility for their travel plans. Fortunately, train services on the Vienna-Salzburg section remain unaffected by the strike and subsequent disruptions.

Despite the strike cancellation, DB warns that there may still be restrictions in the days ahead. Rescheduling approximately 50,000 train journeys and coordinating the associated staff shifts present significant challenges for the railway company. As a result, around one-third of the planned long-distance trains will be canceled on Monday, and there were also individual cancellations on Sunday evening. However, starting Tuesday, DB aims to restore normal operations by ensuring that all ICE and IC trains run as scheduled, providing some relief to affected travelers.

The recent settlement between the German railway and transport union (EVG) and DB, reached before the labor court in Frankfurt am Main, has resolved the immediate issues that led to the strike. However, negotiations for new collective agreements between EVG and approximately 50 competitors of Deutsche Bahn are still ongoing. Therefore, strikes may still occur within these companies, potentially disrupting regional and freight transport services provided by Deutsche Bahn. Passengers are advised to stay informed about any potential future disruptions and check for updates regarding their travel plans.

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