As of Monday, the elevated trains will no longer travel along Berlin’s main east-west axis for at least two weeks. Several other lines have already been reduced or shut down due to concerns about the wheels on the train cars.
The S-Bahn, which is operated by Germany’s national railway Deutsche Bahn, forms an integral part of the German capital’s public transportation network. The BVG, which runs the city’s U-Bahn metro, trams and buses, has said it will try to compensate by increasing capacity where possible.
Deutsche Bahn will also add extra regional trains crossing the city centre to its schedule.
But for at least the next few weeks, travellers cannot even use the S-Bahn to get to Berlin’s Schönefeld airport. And Berliners are likely to be extremely inconvenienced for several months.
“At the beginning of December we’ll be able to offer complete service again,” Deutsche Bahn board member Ulrich Homburg told Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel.
The cause of the chaos is a ruling by EBA Federal Railway Office, which determined S-Bahn trains in use since the mid 1990s needed to have their wheels replaced amid safety concerns. The EBA imposed tighter regulations after one wheel cracked on May 1.