Berlin S-Bahn services not back to normal before 2013

What is normal – and what’s not? Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel (www.tagesspiegel.de) today reports that the trains of Berlin’s popular public transport system ‘S-Bahn’ will not be back to normal operation for the next three to four years. So at least for the next three to four years the current ‘state of emergency’ will probably be ‘normal’.

What happened? After a series of breakdowns S-Bahn owner “Deutsche Bahn” had to call most of the trains in for reparation. Listing the problematic parts feels stupid since almost all parts seems to be affected in one way or the other: after some breakdowns first the trains’ wheels had to be checked. Later it became clear that also the breaks, the electrical systems and even the doors were not maintained properly for quite a while. Additionally some of the precious train cars broke down due to problems with the wintery temperatures Berlin faced early December.

The reasons for the neglectings seem to lie in the privatisation ambitions of S-Bahn owner Deutsche Bahn: the company recently wanted to go public – and it seems as if therefore money was sucked from Berlin S-Bahn – by not properly maintaining the trains, rails and cars. Not the city – or actually the people pay the price for this money Deutsche Bahn saved over the past years.

As a consequence some people demand that the Berlin S-Bahn should be owned and operated by the city of Berlin – and actually the city of Berlin now even seems to consider buying the S-Bahn from its current owner Deutsche Bahn. But if Deutsche Bahn actually also considers selling might be quite a different question.


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