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Continued disruptions for train and air travelers in Bavaria

Half a meter of fresh snow - and now problems with train and air traffic for days. Even on Tuesday, not everything is running as usual in the south of Bavaria after the weekend's snowfall.

A regional train covered in snow at Munich Central Station.
A regional train covered in snow at Munich Central Station.

Snow chaos - Continued disruptions for train and air travelers in Bavaria

Air travelers and commuters in southern Bavaria are still facing cancellations and delays after the heavy snowfall at the weekend. Flight operations in Munich will come to a standstill again on Tuesday due to the forecast of freezing rain. There will be no take-offs and landings from the start of operations at 6.00 a.m. until 12.00 noon, a spokesperson announced on Monday evening.

Lufthansa, meanwhile, expects restrictions on air traffic in Munich to continue well beyond Tuesday. It is assumed that there will also be significant restrictions for the rest of the week, a company spokesperson told Deutsche Presse-Agentur on Monday evening. Customers with booked tickets to or from Munich will be able to cancel their tickets free of charge. This applies to tickets with a travel date up to December 9.

Around 1500 passengers had already been stranded in Munich since the weekend. Some of them spent another night on camp beds in the airport. According to the information provided, the airport intends to use the first half of the day on Tuesday to de-ice the operating areas following the forecast freezing rain. The plan is to restart air traffic from midday, it said. However, the flight schedule will probably still be severely restricted in the afternoon. Passengers should plan for this and contact their airline for information.

Deutsche Bahn(DB) said that the effects on rail traffic would continue to be felt over the next few days. Travelers were asked to postpone non-essential journeys until 6 December. More than half of the flights at Munich Airport were canceled on Monday. They also said: "We expect disruptions until the middle of the week."

The combination of huge amounts of snow and then frosty sub-zero temperatures was a particular challenge, according to several sources. Ice froze in the tracks of the streetcar in Munich and caused vehicles used to clear the tracks to derail.

Snowfall on the first weekend of Advent paralyzed rail traffic in large parts of southern Germany. Trees blocked tracks, icy overhead lines and snow-covered trains prevented journeys. "In many places, overhead lines were without power or pantographs sank under the weight of the snow. The prolonged interruption to the power supply in cold weather meant that some vehicles could no longer be activated and had to be towed away," explained DB.

As DB announced at the end of November, it only has 13 "railway-owned snow clearing vehicles" in Bavaria - with 9800 kilometers of track in the southern region. "In addition, there are seven light snow clearing vehicles - four multifunctional maintenance vehicles for the rail infrastructure and three track maintenance vehicles".

Some schools will remain closed on Tuesday, for example because the roofs of the buildings need to be cleared of snow. According to a list from the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, schools in the Dingolfing-Landau district, the Ebersberg district, the Rottal-Inn district, the Erding district and the district and city of Landshut are affected. In addition, there are partial cancellations of lessons at individual schools in the district of Mühldorf am Inn, in the district of Starnberg and in the city of Augsburg.

The Munich S-Bahn runs on the main line and on individual outer lines. It remains to be seen when trains will resume regular service on all outer lines, on which many commuters rely. According to the Munich Transport Company (MVG), two of the eleven Munich streetcar lines should be running again from Tuesday morning. Subways and buses are in operation.

Munich Central Station was also only in operation to a very limited extent on Monday. The Länderbahn reported that traffic on its lines in Lower Bavaria could be resumed "with disruptions". Traffic on the Bayerische Regiobahn (BRB) remained partially suspended. A shuttle service was set up on some routes.

Traffic on the roads has been running again since Sunday afternoon. However, there was a lot of snow, especially on side roads, and the masses of snow on the sides of the roads often made it difficult to get out of the way. "It has calmed down. Slippery roads and snow are still there, but nothing wild on the roads," said a police spokesman in Upper Bavaria on Tuesday night.

In the city of Munich and other towns, the authorities had some roofs cleared of snow as a precautionary measure. In Munich, a technical expert office regularly checks the snow loads during the winter season. At the beginning of 2006, the ice rink in Bad Reichenhall collapsed under the weight of the snow, killing 15 people.

The Bavarian Palace Administration warned of the "danger of snow breakage" in the English Garden in Munich and against entering wooded areas where trees could topple under the weight of the snow or branches could break off. Some parks were to remain closed until Tuesday, including Nymphenburg Palace Park. This also applied to the animal enclosures of the Bavarian Forest National Park in Neuschönau and Ludwigsthal. The municipal cemeteries in Munich will also remain closed for the time being.

DWD Bavaria Munich Airport Info Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs on school closures - updated regularly DB information on winter

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