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RASTATT: Germany: April 27, 2018. The economic cost of the 51-day closure last year of the Rhine Valley railway line that links north and south Europe is estimated at €2.048 billion, according to a new report.

From August 12 to October 02, the double-track European Rail Freight Corridor ‘Rhine-Alpine’ was closed due to a collapsed tunnel during engineering work by DB Netze at Rastatt-Niederbühl, Germany.

Rastatt tunnel collapseA study produced by the Hanseatic Transport Consultancy for three European rail logistics groups: the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA), Netzwerk Europäischer Eisenbahnen (NEE), and the International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport (UIRR), says rail company losses totalled €969 million, manufacturers lost €771 million and a further €308 million was “suffered by related entities such as infrastructure managers and terminal operators”.

Deutsche Bahn normally runs 200 trains a day on the route made up of 65 percent intermodal and 35 conventional wagonloads. During the time the lines were blocked in both directions, 8,262 trains should have operated but in fact 66 percent were cancelled and the rest re-routed.

ERFA acting secretary general Carole Coune said compensation claims should be resolved and members paid quickly in order to move on and determine contingency plans in the case of future incidents.

NEE managing director Peter Westenberger pointed out that every day of what has become known as the ‘Rastatt Incident’ cost €40 million in damages. “Therefore, it must be clear that a comparable incident as Rastatt shall never happen again,” he declared.

While the three rail organisations acknowledge the lessons of the Rastatt incident are being dscussed in European working groups to avoid a similar event, UIRR president Ralf-Charley Schultze said confidence in the region’s intermodal rail network could only be restored with adequate contingency procedures and money for those stakeholders who have to implement them.

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