by Oliver Lane
The major rail route between Budapest and Munich via Austria has
been closed until next month as rail bosses have been forced to take the
most popular migration route out of service.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) placed a permanent suspension on its intercity
services which take the crucial Hungary-Austria-Germany route until
October 4th as Germany struggles to deal with the migrant crisis. Border
controls were re-introduced two weeks ago, a measure which has placed
immense strain on the tight timetables of the German rail network.
the comments of a DB spokesman who said: “As a result of administrative
measures (border controls) the long-distance routes of Deutsche Bahn
will be suspended, initially until October 4th, 2015, between
Munich-Salzburg (Austria) and Budapest (Hungary)”. The DB website,
calling for patience and understanding from regular customers that
because of the migrant crisis “the situation in many stations and some
trains at this time tense”.
The intercity service has already been on ice since last week, but
this announcement puts its suspension on a more permanent basis. A new,
revised timetable with time for stops and passport checks is presently
These changes come on top of the long-scheduled closure of Leipzig
station for three days over the next week for major building works. The
station is one of the largest in the world and a major central Europe
The extraordinary move to cancel a significant rail route is just
part of a large programme of closures and cancellations which form part
of the greatest disruption European travellers will have encountered in
decades. Over the past month borders which had been flung open as part
of the Schengen agreement fifteen years ago have been closed, as
individual governments have acted unilaterally to protect themselves
from the migrant crisis. As a result dozens of major motorways, railways, and ferry lines have been closed or disrupted as police have put traffic control and passport checks into operation.
The border crossing between Germany and Denmark was closed earlier
this month as thousands of migrants headed north, trying to access the
Scandinavian nations. Police instructed rail operators to cancel all
services crossing the border, and were compelled to physically stop
trains and ferries from making their journeys.
These unexpected delays are not only inconvenient for travellers, but
cause significant problems for hauliers who transport food and other
goods across the continent. Truckers warned last week
the extra costs imposed by the migrant flood and commensurate security
checks and delays meant higher costs for hauliers, which inevitably
would mean higher food and commodity prices.