S-Bahn strike - how to get where you're going

Industrial action has paralysed most rail service in the Berlin region, but a few trains are still running.

Should of taken my bike!
Should of taken my bike!Norbert Koch-Klaucke

Berlin-Another German Train Drivers' Union (GDL) strike kicked off at 2am Monday morning. Most long-distance, regional and S-Bahn trains are cancelled through 2am on Wednesday. However, a few trains are still running.

So what's the deal? A dispute over pay between Deutsche Bahn and GDL, which has been smouldering for months, has crossed over into industrial action. DB owns the S-Bahn Berlin and DB Regio, which operates regional express lines such as the RE1, RE3, RE5 and RE6 in the Berlin region. BVG, which runs the U-Bahn, trams and buses is not affected during the second 48-hour strike this summer. 

So is the S-Bahn running? During the first two-day strike last week around a third of S-Bahns continued to operate. "We intend to run this replacement timetable again for the next strike starting this Monday," the S-Bahn said at the weekend. 

Which S-Bahn trains are running? Where there are few or no alternatives for passengers,  S-Bahn service will be continued, albeit at a reduced frequency - every 20 minutes during the day and every 40 minutes from 9pm. Find up-to-date info in English at sbahn.berlin/en

What about the BVG?  Passengers should be prepared for fuller vehicles and a lot of traffic on the streets as many opt to take their car. "Passengers on buses and trams in particular should plan a little more time as a precaution. We appeal to everyone: show consideration for each other and be patient if things slow down a bit," said boss Rolf Erfurt.

How do I get to the airport? Travellers are advised to take the RE7 or the S-Bahn. The S85 is running every 20 minutes from Pankow via Ostkreuz to Schöneweide. From there it runs as the S9 to the station Flughafen BER Terminal 1-2. Because the BVG is not affected, another option is to take the U7 to Rudow, and then the X7 bus. Another alternative: the Airport Shuttle BER1, a bus which runs seven times a day between Rathaus Steglitz and the airport, bookable at bex.de.

What about DB long-distance trains? Only about quarter of trains will be running. The railway advises: "Please postpone your long-distance journeys planned for Monday and Tuesday if you do not absolutely have to travel."

Deutsche Bahn says passengers who booked tickets for 23-25 August can cancel the journey free of charge - or they can use their ticket by 4 September. Here's all the DB strike info in English.

Berlin news in English.