The Germans are on strike

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STEVIEBOY1

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I just got back from Köln yesterday.
International trains to Brussels, both Thalys and ICE seemed to be running as normal and there seemed to be an hourly ICE to Berlin so you should be OK whatever happens (always assuming EVG don't get in on the act too!).

I was surprised by how quiet the Hbf was yesterday morning. I'd expected long queues for information, busy platforms and packed trains but everything was very quiet. It seems that people have got used to the situation and made other arrangements.

The Autobahn and other roads seemed busy though!
Thank you, will still keep fingers crossed. (By the way, what is EVG, it is another union?)
 
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oldman

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Beamte (plural form) are a kind of civil servant and constitutionally forbidden to strike. They get very good pensions, special health care arrangements, and can only be sacked 'in cases of serious felonies'. (Wikipedia)
 

LesS

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I arrived here in Frankfurt on Tuesday to be greeted by the strike news. I am not very happy as I have reservations to Munich on Friday.

The information on the departure boards is anything but clear at Hbf. Asking information can bring on an attack of no English.

From the DB website there appears to be an almost regular service with ICE sets by changing trains at Mannheim. There are also a few services with ICE from Frankfurt flughafen directly to Munich.

I am praying that there might be some settlement tomorrow (Thursday). Perhaps it is more a case of hope over reality.
 

WestCoast

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I arrived here in Frankfurt on Tuesday to be greeted by the strike news. I am not very happy as I have reservations to Munich on Friday.

The information on the departure boards is anything but clear at Hbf. Asking information can bring on an attack of no English.

From the DB website there appears to be an almost regular service with ICE sets by changing trains at Mannheim. There are also a few services with ICE from Frankfurt flughafen directly to Munich.

I am praying that there might be some settlement tomorrow (Thursday). Perhaps it is more a case of hope over reality.
I have no doubt you will get there. There is a replacement timetable (Ersatzfahrplan) in place. 12 hours before your time of departure use the real time departure engine. This should show all the planned long distance services.

Some older staff members are not confident in English, at Munich Hbf and Nuremberg Hbf yesterday there were DB Support staff (red caps) milling around near the departure screens.

My tip: if you do not have access to the internet, all red DB ticket machines are linked to the real time information systems. Switch the machine into English and ask it to plan a journey (using the 12 hour before rule if possible), there it will tell you about the planned connections which are running. You can also print off an information slip.

Do not worry if you have booked a reserved journey, your ticket will be accepted on any train that day. You could also purchase a separate seat reservation through the DB Website on the chosen connection for a small fee, subject to availability.
 
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WestCoast

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Isn't that where the ServicePoint usually is?
Yes, each ServicePoint was fully staffed and there were around 10 additional staff members in front of the SerivcePoints at each station (possibly on train staff who have been assigned to station support during the strike?). It was also fairly relaxed at both stations, and the ZOB (coach station) at Munich was OK too even if most services were heading out rather full.
 

blackfive460

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By the way, what is EVG, it is another union?
Indeed it is. Eisenbahn- und Verkehrsgewerkschaft.

They are also in negotiation with DB concerning pay, etc. and have been quoted in the German press as saying that, if they don't see some movement in the right direction by 21st May they may strike.
However, EVG seem far less militant than GDL and I wouldn't be surprised if DB are keen to settle with them in an attempt to isolate GDL. EVG's next negotiation with DB is next Monday.
Quite what GDL's thinking is with this dispute I fail to understand. It seems to me that, at the moment, they are on a hiding to nothing.
 

LesS

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Thank you WestCoast.
There have also been RedCaps assisting near the information counter at Frankfurt.

Around lunch time I went to the Ticket office hoping to get better information. It proved to be a good move. The very helpful young lady found that there would be a direct train to Munich tomorrow morning. This train does not appear in the DB update information; although it is in the permanent timetable. I now have my ticket transferred to ICE 595 with a reservation and no extra charges. I am hoping to be in Munich mid afternoon.

I was not encouraged earlier this evening. A replacement ICE to Berlin, without reservations, was mobbed.
 

Bletchleyite

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I have no doubt you will get there. There is a replacement timetable (Ersatzfahrplan) in place. 12 hours before your time of departure use the real time departure engine. This should show all the planned long distance services.
What it doesn't show is the replacement buses[1] for the Berlin-Warszawa-Express or any similar ones. I think the only way to find out about those was to ask at Berlin Hbf. Nowhere else had a clue they even existed - not bahn.de, not HAFAS, not the staff at Frankfurt(Oder), not any posters anywhere, while at 05bleugh there weren't a lot of staff around at Berlin Hbf to ask.

Sometimes I moan about slightly poor information in the UK at times, but this was something else. The experience reminded me of flying during the ash cloud incident - felt like trying to hit a moving target finding an itinerary that would work as regional trains were cancelled all over the shop, often less than 12 hours before departure. And you couldn't use yesterday's example, because HAFAS doesn't keep real time information for trains that have finished their journey.

Really, really unimpressed. It was an enjoyable little explore and a fun little challenge for me as an expert public transport user, but if I'd been a normal passenger I'd have decided to drive or fly next time.

[1] HAFAS seems to turn off the display of buses by default - stupidly it doesn't distinguish between rail replacement buses and "normal" buses, so if you select "bus" you often get a load of garbage. But the BWE replacement buses were *definitely* not in. It seems the PKP site (and in Polish only) was the only place they were recorded online, even though they were DB operated "IC Bus" branded coaches.
 
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LesS

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Arrived safely in Munich. Few ICE services were departing Frankfurt on time. ICE78 to Hamburg was over an hour late.
Unlike DB usual experience the aisles and corridors were full of standing passengers; including in 1st class.
 

Bletchleyite

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Arrived safely in Munich. Few ICE services were departing Frankfurt on time. ICE78 to Hamburg was over an hour late.
Unlike DB usual experience the aisles and corridors were full of standing passengers; including in 1st class.
You've not tried ICs on a Friday evening when the soldiers are on the way back from Wehrdienst for the weekend, then :)
 

blackfive460

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Following the end of the recent strike, Claus has now stated that, 'The land and rail passengers now have earned a break' and that no further strikes are planned at the moment as GDL want to give DB a chance to come up with something new.

All we have to do for a while at least, is hope that EVG don't kick off instead. They have two more meetings planned for May and have stated that there must be progress by the end of the month otherwise they will have to consider strike action.
Perhaps Claus is waiting to see what happens there?

I've not found anything in the English language press but there's plenty in the German papers. Just do a Google news search for 'GDL streik'.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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Following the end of the recent strike, Claus has now stated that, 'The land and rail passengers now have earned a break' and that no further strikes are planned at the moment as GDL want to give DB a chance to come up with something new.

All we have to do for a while at least, is hope that EVG don't kick off instead. They have two more meetings planned for May and have stated that there must be progress by the end of the month otherwise they will have to consider strike action.
Perhaps Claus is waiting to see what happens there?

I've not found anything in the English language press but there's plenty in the German papers. Just do a Google news search for 'GDL streik'.
Thank you for taking the trouble to kindly post this update. Let's hope that a good outcome can now happen and everyone can travel confidently again with no more hassles.

I will keep fingers crossed for my forthcoming trip later this month.
 
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davetheguard

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I'm keeping a close eye on this very useful thread as we're due to be having a multi-centre holiday in Germany for two weeks starting 30th May. All travel to, from & around Germany by rail.

With regard to any future strike dates, does anyone know if under German law there is any minimum amount of advance notice that has to be given by the union (say two weeks' notice, or whatever) between calling, and actually holding, a strike?
 

blackfive460

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GDL have been announcing strikes with very limited warning so I'd guess there's no minimum advanced notice.
I also recall that there have been lightning local walk outs in the past.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
For information, the other union, EVG, are meeting DB today and have another meeting on the 21st May by which time they hope to have at least the basis for an agreement.
If not...
 

HowardGWR

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I've just returned from Berlin last week and encountered little problem from the GDL strike. We had to take a slightly different route to normal to get to Schonefeld airport but the frequencies were still better than London Overground, for instance. U bahn was not affected at all, S bahn, somewhat, Regional to / from Lubbenau was fine, except our connection to Schonefeld from Wusterhausen was 'bustituted' so we went via Berlin Alexanderplatz anyway (reversed with S bahn to Ostkreuz (because Regional are not stopping there yet) and took the S bahn from there to Schonefeld.

It seemed to me that the former DDR (GDR) was 'unioned' by the bigger union. Just a guess but there were few disruptions there.
 

fowler9

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I've just returned from Berlin last week and encountered little problem from the GDL strike. We had to take a slightly different route to normal to get to Schonefeld airport but the frequencies were still better than London Overground, for instance. U bahn was not affected at all, S bahn, somewhat, Regional to / from Lubbenau was fine, except our connection to Schonefeld from Wusterhausen was 'bustituted' so we went via Berlin Alexanderplatz anyway (reversed with S bahn to Ostkreuz (because Regional are not stopping there yet) and took the S bahn from there to Schonefeld.

It seemed to me that the former DDR (GDR) was 'unioned' by the bigger union. Just a guess but there were few disruptions there.
We got a Regio train from the Hauptbahnhoff through Sudkreuz to Schonefeld airport the other week. Got told it was engineering work that meant we couldn't go on an alternative route.
 

blackfive460

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Freight from tomorrow at 15:00, passenger from Wednesday morning 02:00 with the end announced in due course with 48 hours notice.

Then there's EVG meeting with DB on Thursday saying that if the outcome of that meeting isn't satisfactory (to EVG) then they'll be looking at strikes.

It's not getting better is it?
 

Hophead

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Take care to read the policy, some exclude strikes, particularly if known about before booking.
I didn't know about the strike at the time of booking, but I am becoming increasingly well-acquainted with the the situation. Hopefully, reading about it all is as close as I actually get.
 

Bletchleyite

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I didn't know about the strike at the time of booking, but I am becoming increasingly well-acquainted with the the situation. Hopefully, reading about it all is as close as I actually get.
If you haven't taken out a travel policy before knowing about it, there is also a risk you may not be covered. Definitely a good idea to read the policy carefully.
 
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