From our correspondent
BERLIN – “Switzerland has lived five hundred years of peace and democracy. And what did they produce? A cuckoo clock,” said Orson Welles in an unforgettable scene from the movie “The Third Man.” And it would also be true, but It is a fact that the Swiss take great care in the accuracy of their watches. Just as they care a lot about accuracy and The accuracy of their train times.
They care so much that they can’t stand those from countries where they are constantly late. So much so that they decide not to let them roll around on their rail network anymore, when they accumulate more than 16 minutes.
a surprise. We are not talking about Italian trains, but about German ones. Under the new rules of the Swiss Railways, Late trains from Germany are parked in Basel near the border. In fact, when the delays get too heavy, they stop them even earlier, at Basel Bad, forcing passengers to disembark and use an alternative bus service to get to the city centre. Later stops, up to seven, are not mentioned, let alone the substitution service.
Alaa explained: “Half of the international trains coming from Germany arrive late in Basel Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Peter Vogelstaller, President of the Swiss Railways -. If we allow them to continue, they will also mess up our traffic schedules» Füglistaler definition The scale is an “alarm clock” for Deutsche Bahn, which dominates the German gridand did not rule out further restrictions.
Of the many malfunctions of the German system, railway failures are certainly the most spectacular. In 2022, 34.8% of long-distance trains will result in delays of more than 6 minutesIt peaked at 40% between June and July. This year, in the first six months, it was 31.2%, but the summer figure is still missing.
Actually it’s even worse, the statistics are actually silent about the dozens of trains that are canceled every day across Germany, without warning and without giving any explanation to the passengers. Add that High speed stopped in the Federal Republic at the time of Pendolino. Just one example: the fastest train from Berlin to Munich, which is about the same distance as Rome and Milan, takes 4 hours, but there are 1-2 trains a day, and the others take half an hour on average. As long as they arrive on time or get to court.
At the base there is a fundamental problem: in the past 20 years, Germany has invested little and badly in its infrastructure, especially in railways. With a length of 38,000 km, the German network is the longest in Europe, but it is very old, and the tracks in some areas are still the same as they were a hundred years ago and require constant repairs, with construction sites opening, which slows down traffic.
Moreover, it is a very complex network, it reflects the federal structure of the state and does not radiate from a single center as in France or the United Kingdom: the result is that any delay has repercussions for the whole network, as in a chain reaction.
Best of all, there is no separate high-speed network: Long-distance, regional, and freight trains largely share the same tracks This creates “bottlenecks” all over the place that impede the entire trading.
The overcrowding of trains last summer and last year did not help the situation, as a result of a noteworthy post-Covid initiative by the government, which in 2022 offered for three months all Germans a monthly ticket of 9 euros, with which they could travel indefinitely. . Across the country on local and regional trains. Millions used it between June and September, clogging up the network. The initiative carried over, even if the monthly ticket now costs 49 euros, it’s still a bargain.
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