Longest rail strike in German history hits Berlin Wall events

Both intercity and regional services hit until early on Monday

A four-day rail strike, said to be the longest in German history, is hitting commuters today and threatens to disrupt celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The 100-hour strike by the 20,000-member union GDL hit both intercity and regional services from Thursday and is scheduled to last until early on Monday. Between 15% and 30% of trains are reported to be running. GDL wants a 5% pay rise and working week cut to 37 hours. Rail operator Deutsche Bahn is seeking an injunction to stop the strike.

Around 2 million people had been expected to travel to Berlin for the anniversary celebrations this weekend and events such as concerts, a Brandenburg Gate street festival and guests of honour including former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. The weekend’s Bundesliga football matches are also likely to be hit.

Buses and car rentals are reported to be fully booked solid and traffic jams are being reported on key roads across Germany – including a 30-kilometre jam on the A81 between Heilbronn and Stuttgart.


[photo courtesy Siemens]

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