WWII bomb forces evacuation, travel disruption in Cologne

For the second time in two days, the discovery of a World War II bomb has forced an evacuation in Germany.

WWII bomb forces evacuation, travel disruption in Cologne
A 'Fünf-Zentner-Bombe' resembling the one found in Cologne. Image: DPA

Discovered on Wednesday afternoon in Cologne-Zollstock in the city’s south, the bomb forced an evacuation of a 500-metre radius. Around 2,500 have had to leave their homes, while disruptions are also expected in peak hour afternoon and evening traffic. 

Roadblocks have already been established in the area, although the military ring road and the Zollstock/Sülz belt road which surround the city are expected to remain open. 

The bomb, which is English in origin and operating on a long-term detonator, is said to weigh between 200 and 400 kilograms. 

The discovery has forced road closures in the area and will disrupt local and long-distance train services. The train from Cologne to Bonn – a popular afternoon route – has been closed for the evening. 

A spokesperson for Deutsche Bahn told the Rheinische Post that it was unclear how long the train suspension would last. 

It was the second World War II bomb German authorities were forced to deal with on Wednesday, after an early morning detonation forced another evacuation in the city of Regensburg in Bavaria. 

As reported by The Local, after 4,500 were evacuated, the bomb was detonated successfully by a specialized robot shortly after 4:40am.

Despite several decades passing since the end of the conflict, World War II bombs are frequently discovered all across Germany. 

So far in 2019 bomb discoveries have forced evacuations in Frankfurt, Rostock, Essen and Nuremberg. 

The largest post-war evacuation took place in September 2017, when more than 60,000 people were affected by the discovery of a bomb which weighed several tonnes on the Frankfurt University campus. 

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Traffic warnings issued in France for Pentecost holiday weekend

Traffic authorities have warned of busy roads as people in France head off for the long Pentecost weekend.

Traffic warnings issued in France for Pentecost holiday weekend
Many French people will be heading off for a long weekend until Monday, which marks the Christian celebration of Pentecost (Pentecôte). Photo: Ludovic MARIN / AFP

Roads will be busy across most of the country on Friday as many people in France take advantage of the public holiday on Monday 24th, which marks the Christian celebration of Pentecost (Pentecôte).

READ ALSO: Pentecost: The French public holiday where people work for free

Bison Futé, the government-run website that monitors traffic levels in France, has put most of the country on orange alert (third highest) on Friday for departures, except for the greater Paris Île-de-France region and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, which were on red alert (second highest).

READ ALSO: What changes in France on Wednesday as phase 2 of reopening begins?

Photo: Bison Futé

On Saturday the whole country will also be on orange alert for departures except for the Île-de-France region, which will be on red alert. And the same will be the case on Monday for returns.

Photo: Bison Futé

Rail disruption for trains to Marseille and from Paris to Toulouse

With SCNF carrying out works at the Saint-Charles station in Marseille, there is expected to be significant disruption in trains arriving in the southern French city from Saturday 22nd and Monday 24th of May.

This includes the TER trains between Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, Avignon via Arles, Narbonne and Lyon; the Intercités between Marseille and Bordeaux (a bus service will be available on Sunday 23rd of May) and the TGV Inoui and Ouigo trains.

The Intercité line from Paris to Toulouse will also be severely disrupted due to building works. There will be no trains running on Sunday, and will restart progressively from Monday.

From Wednesday May 19th, the curfew has been pushed back from 7pm to 9pm. So if you are travelling between 9pm and 6am, you need to fill the latest version of the attestation, which can be found on the TousAntiCovid app.