Train customers should use the DB Navigator app or bahn.de before their journey to check their train connection. That is the reason.
DB is replacing 137,000 concrete sleepers – rail customers need to know that.
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As planned, Deutsche Bahn (DB) completed the extensive inspection program for concrete sleepers in the rail network at the end of August 2022. The inspection of the concrete sleepers became necessary because there was a suspicion that certain sleepers were defective due to a manufacturer error. On June 3, 2022, this could have led to the accident with several deaths and many injuries near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Delays and train cancellations already occurred during the inspection work, which is why rail customers should always use the app and the bahn.de website to check whether their train was affected before starting their journey.
Railway sleepers could have caused fatal accidents
Now this check is complete and there is indeed a suspicion of a manufacturer error. Around 137,000 and thus almost two thirds of the sleepers examined (a total of around 200,000 sleepers of a certain type and manufacturer) have to be replaced.
The investigations into the accident on June 3, 2022 have not yet been completed and the cause of the accident has not yet been determined. However, the railway writes: “First preliminary findings from technical reports by independent testing institutes suggest that there is a manufacturer error: the sleepers sometimes have irregularities in the material properties.”
The consequences for rail customers
Wherever the railways have discovered anomalies, the trains have to drive more slowly until they are replaced. Occasionally the railway also blocks sections of the route. According to their information, DB has already replaced sleepers on 70 sections of track and lifted the existing restrictions. Work is still pending on 155 sections, and specific construction dates have already been scheduled for all of them.
By the end of 2022, almost all affected routes should be open to traffic again. In some cases, however, the replacement of the sleepers will last until 2023.
Train customers should do that
This is why the following still applies to rail travelers in most parts of Germany: Always check before you start your journey in the DB Navigator app or on bahn.de whether the train you have planned is running according to plan. Or whether it will be delayed or whether rail replacement services will even be necessary.