Saturday, July 17, 2010

Deutsche Bahn blames heat nightmare on climate change

Deutsche Welle: Rail operator Deutsche Bahn blamed global warming for the air-conditioning problems on its older ICE trains on Friday. But critics have pointed the finger at misfiring plans to float the company on the stock market.

Travelling on Germany's high-speed ICE trains has often been a harrowing experience recently. Horror stories circulated in the German media throughout the week, following an incident Saturday when the air-conditioning broke down in a train travelling from Berlin. Temperatures reached 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees F) inside the train, and several people were hospitalized in the western German town of Bielefeld.

…After initial claims that the air-conditioning breakdowns had only affected three trains on that day, reports have since emerged that Germany's current heat wave has disabled the air conditioning on as many as 50 trains this week.

As a result Deutsche Bahn has been forced to admit that the cooling systems installed in some high-speed trains are simply not equipped to cope with the current heat. When outside temperatures breach 32 degrees Celsius, the systems on ICE 2 trains routinely fail to keep the interior cool. Deutsche Bahn chief Ruediger Grube was quick to apologize for the mess, but pointed the finger at climate change….

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