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July 06, 2009

Berlin S-Bahn chaos continues

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THE Berlin Senate is studying whether it can terminate early German Rail's (DB) concession to operate the German capital's 331km S-Bahn network, which is due to run until 2017, as a result of continuing disruption to services. Trains are running at reduced frequency on most lines, and have been withdrawn entirely on two lines due to a severe shortage of trains awaiting safety checks.
Following a broken wheel in May, the Federal Railway Authority (EBA) ordered S-Bahn Berlin to step up safety checks on wheels on class 481 emus by reducing the interval between checks from every two weeks to once a week. However, last week the EBA discovered that S-Bahn Berlin was not complying with the order. As a result, the EBA ordered about 380 cars to be taken out of service until all wheels had been examined.
DB took action on July 2 by replacing the management team at S-Bahn Berlin. The new CEO is Mr Peter Buchner, the former head of DB Regio's northeast region. Three other experienced DB managers have also been appointed to senior positions at S-Bahn Berlin. They are Mr Christian Kayser for finance, Mr Maik Dreser for production, and Mr Christoph Wachendorf for personnel.

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