Rail strike from Thursday: What travelers need to know now

For the third time within a few weeks, the train drivers’ union GDL is calling for a strike at the railways. The train drivers stop work for five days. Commuters and long-distance travelers are equally affected.

Escalation during the holiday season: From Thursday on, rail customers will have to prepare for the longest strike of this collective bargaining round to date. The union of German locomotive drivers (GDL) wants to paralyze rail traffic for five days, as its chairman, Claus Weselsky, has announced.

In addition to hundreds of thousands of commuters, the labor dispute will again hit numerous travelers. The holiday season is still running, in Saxony and Thuringia the school holidays end at the weekend.

When does a strike take place?

The train drivers’ union GDL is calling from this Thursday from 2 a.m. to Tuesday morning at 2 a.m. in the coming week for a five-day strike in the passenger transport of Deutsche Bahn. In freight transport, the strike is due to start this Wednesday.

The railway expects that it can run around a quarter of the usual range in long-distance transport, and around 40 percent in regional and S-Bahn transport. “Those who can should postpone their trip to the time before or after the strike,” said the company.

When is compensation due?

The EU passenger regulation also applies to strikes and regulates the right to compensation. If you arrive at your destination at least one hour late, you will be reimbursed 25 percent of the fare; if you arrive two hours late, the responsible railway company has to reimburse 50 percent of the price. According to the railway, passengers can choose between a voucher or payment of the amount.

If there is an expected delay of 20 minutes at the destination station, passengers can take another train. Higher quality trains can also be used, provided they do not require a reservation. The surcharge paid will be refunded. Season tickets are reimbursed at a flat rate from a delay of at least one hour – since amounts under four euros are not paid out, passengers usually have to submit delays collectively.

Can I cancel the trip?

If it is foreseeable that the train will arrive at its destination at least an hour later than planned, passengers may withdraw from the trip and have the full fare reimbursed. This also applies to failed trains or missed connections. Anyone who is already on the way and interrupts the journey can have the unused part reimbursed; those who return to the starting station receive the full price back.

What other offers does Deutsche Bahn have?

All passengers who want to postpone their journey between Thursday, September 2nd and Tuesday, September 7th due to the GDL strike, can use their already booked ticket either flexibly or free of charge from now until Friday, September 17th cancel. In addition, there is no train connection for saver fares and super saver fares, and another train can be used for the onward journey. Seat reservations can be exchanged free of charge.

How will the replacement trains be used?

In connection with the GDL strike, the railway expects a “very high utilization” of the long-distance trains that are still in service. He is therefore advised to reserve a seat during this period.

Are there also no connections to neighboring countries?

International long-distance trains are also affected by the GDL strike and can fail on the entire route or in the German section. Long-distance cross-border traffic to Denmark and Poland is canceled. According to Deutsche Bahn, however, trains are scheduled to run on the following sections:

Belgium / Netherlands:

– ICE trains Frankfurt (M) – Cologne – Brussels

– ICE trains Frankfurt (M) – Cologne – Amsterdam

– IC trains Bad Bentheim – Amsterdam


– ICE / TGV trains Frankfurt (M) – Strasbourg / Saarbrücken – Paris

– ICE / TGV trains Stuttgart – Strasbourg – Paris

– TGV trains Frankfurt (M) – Strasbourg – Marseille


– ICE trains Hamburg – Frankfurt (M) – Basel – Zurich / Chur

– IC trains Singen – Schaffhausen – Zurich

Austria / Italy:

– RJ trains Munich – Salzburg – Vienna – Budapest

– ICE trains Passau – Linz – Vienna

– EC trains Munich – Innsbruck – Verona

Czech Republic:

– EC / RJ trains Dresden – Prague (-Budapest)

How do I get my money?

Deutsche Bahn recommends that delays be confirmed by employees. Consumer advocates also advise taking photos of the display boards showing the delayed or canceled trains, or taking screenshots from the app or the website. With these receipts, the ticket and the completed passenger rights form, complaints can be made about the trip.

The form can be downloaded directly from the delayed train, from the Deutsche Bahn travel center or online. The documents must be sent to the railway or handed in at the travel center. A digital reimbursement has recently also been possible: If the ticket was purchased online or on the go, the compensation can be requested via your own customer account in the Bahn app or at bahn.de.

All refunds must be made within one year of the expiry of the associated ticket. The first day of validity is noted on the ticket.

What am I entitled to?

Anyone stranded at a train station in the evening and cannot get any further is entitled to replacement transport or, in the worst case, accommodation and transport there. In the event of a delay of more than 60 minutes, the railway companies must also offer refreshments and meals free of charge.

Alternatively, how do I get there?

In the past, Deutsche Bahn organized collective trips by taxi or bus and then issues vouchers for them. If this does not work, passengers can take a taxi themselves, but restrictions apply to the reimbursement of costs.

Where can I get information during the GDL strike?

Deutsche Bahn has activated the “Sonderkulanz” page on the web and set up a free special hotline:

Tel.: 08000 99 66 33


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