Senator for Urban Development Mrs Ingeborg Junge-Reyer says DB's
contract, which expires in 2017, "could in no way be renewed
considering the current state of the S-Bahn." Junge-Reyer believes it
would be impractical to re-let the entire system and proposes issuing a
public tender for the operation of a quarter of the network in the
first quarter of next year.
DB Management Board member for passenger
transport, responded by saying the company intends to continue
operating the entire S-Bahn network. DB has said it will restore normal
operating conditions this year and has pledged to "win back the
confidence of Berlin's passengers." The Senate is planning to deduct
€4.5 million from its January payment to DB, and says it will continue
to do so every month until normal service is restored.
services have been in disarray since last July, when around half the
train fleet was withdrawn from service for urgent wheelset checks. The
Federal Railway Authority (EBA) had ordered DB to reduce the inspection
interval of wheelsets on its fleet of 380 Class 481 vehicles from every
two weeks to once a week following a broken wheel in May. When the EBA
discovered S-Bahn Berlin had not complied with this order it demanded
the immediate withdrawal of the entire class 481 fleet.
A core
problem was the availability of workshop capacity to carry out the
checks - in the year leading up to the withdrawal of the Class 481s,
S-Bahn Berlin had closed three of its six train maintenance depots and
cut 1000 jobs to reduce costs.
DB has since brought in a new
management team to run S-Bahn Berlin, although train availability
remains poor with only around 60% of the fleet reportedly available for
service. An emergency timetable is in operation and some lines are
still running with reduced frequencies.
Photo: Keith Fender