After the floods in Germany, railway repairs could take years


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Railway repairs could take years after the floods in Germany. Find out the 6 routes that will need repair. What does that mean if you are a commuter?

Deutsche Bahn have now accessed the extend of the damage caused by the recent floods in Germany. Several railway sections in the disaster area have been completely destroyed and will no longer be navigable for a long time. So what can commuters expect from the railway repairs.

Which 6 Deutsche Bahn railway sections were badly damaged by the floods?

railway repairs
Photo: Boris Roessler / dpa

There are 6 commuter-heavy areas where extensive repairs will have to be carried out in the coming months. The first work began in many areas at the end of last week, but the most severely affected routes will remain closed in the medium to long term (see map).

railway repairs


What is the extent of the damage to the DB railways system?

railway repairs

The damage to more than 50 bridges is particularly serious. The floods also had a serious impact on stations and breakpoints as well as the technology. 180 level crossings, almost 40 signal boxes, more than 1000 catenary and signal masts, energy systems as well as elevators and lighting systems in the train stations are also affected. A total of 600 kilometers of the route were destroyed.

How long will it take for the railway repairs to be completed?

According to DB, the greatest damage can be repaired by the end of the year and traffic can be restored to a large extent. With the railway repairs, the goal is to be able to bring around 80 percent of the damaged infrastructure back into shape by the end of the year.

What the priority of the railway repairs?

railway repairs

First of all, the tracks must be cleared of uprooted trees and debris.

In some regions, however, especially in Rhineland-Palatinate, it could take longer. At the Eifel and Ahr, for example, nothing can be seen of the previous routes and connections. Here we are talking about months, if not even years in some places.

Whole sections would also have to be renewed. These included several routes via Euskirchen such as the Erfttalbahn, the Eifel route and the Voreifelbahn; also the NRW route of the S9 line from Wuppertal-Vohwinkel to Essen-Stehle and part of the Ruhr-Sieg route from Hagen to Plettenberg.

Slope and embankment slides, but also track undercutting and flooding, had led to massive destruction.

Can I just take the car if the railway repairs take too long?

There are flood and danger reports from the following motorway sections, among others :

  • A1 Dortmund – Cologne – Euskirchen
  • A3 Cologne – Oberhausen
  • A61 Koblenz – Mönchengladbach
  • A44 Aachen – Mönchengladbach
  • A565 Bonn – Meckenheim
  • B9 Koblenz – Bonn
  • B49 Koblenz – Cochem

According to the ADAC , the situation on the A61 between Mönchengladbach and Koblenz is particularly problematic . The motorway is interrupted there in several sections.

Full closure due to impending dam breach

At the Steinbachtalsperre (Euskirchen district), where there was a risk of a dam bursting, the water level was falling. But the danger is not over yet. Until experts give the all-clear, the nearby A61 at Meckenheim will therefore remain completely closed.

International long-distance train traffic also partially interrupted

According to DB, international long-distance traffic to and from Brussels has been interrupted. 

  • The long-distance trains between Cologne and Bruxelles-Midi are canceled. 
  • The international long-distance traffic Frankfurt  – Cologne – Amsterdam runs according to plan.

DB recommends that you avoid train travel to NRW if possible

The German railway recommends travelers, train rides to and from North Rhine-Westphalia move possible. All long-distance tickets already booked for routes affected by the storm remain valid. Deutsche Bahn provides information on blocked routes in regional traffic on its website.

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