German rail strikes cause widespread delays

Long-distance rail travel came to a halt across Germany on Monday morning, with regional trains also heavily affected, especially in North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and the southwestern cities of Karlsruhe and Mannheim. There were also cancellations in Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania, Hamburg and Lower Saxony.

Services slowly resumed after 9 a.m. but disruptions are set to continue throughout the day, rail operator Deutsche Bahn said.

Workers walked off the job for four hours during rush-hour traffic after pay talks between Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the EVG rail trade union broke down without agreement.

The so-called warning strike came just a day after DB increased the price of rail tickets by an average of 1.9 percent.

What travelers need to know:

– The strikes started on Monday morning at 5 a.m. CET and ended around 9 a.m.

– Long-distance trains as well as regional and city (S-Bahn) trains will continue to be affected throughout Monday.

– DB has advised travelers to delay their travel plans until after the strike ends.

The rail company has adjusted Monday’s tickets to be valid throughout the week to Sunday.
The strikes also caused major disruption on the roads. Germany’s most populous state, and one of the worst affected by the strike, North Rhine-Westphalia, saw a combined 450 kilometers (280 miles) of tailbacks, according to regional broadcaster WDR.

Further strikes threatened: Although no additional rail strikes have been announced yet, EVG warned that further warning strikes can be expected during the pre-Christmas rush. A separate union, the Union of German Locomotive Drivers (GDL), is expected to continue its parallel talks with DB on Tuesday, but warned that its 36,000 members could also take action if wage negotiations talks fail.

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