Big-Hearted Rail Employee – who will win in 2016?

Pro-Rail Alliance is looking for Germany’s best rail adventures

Linda is once again looking for Germany’s most helpful rail employees. Since the competition began, over 1000 customers have sent in their stories.

Berlin, August 10, 2015. For the sixth year in a row, the German Pro-Rail Alliance is asking Germany’s train passengers to send in their most exciting travel stories. Passengers who encountered particularly helpful rail employees during an adventurous train journey or had a remarkable experience at a train station have until January 31, 2016 to nominate their candidates for the Big-Hearted Rail Employee competition 2016. Those railway employees who can be identified on the basis of customer nominations will then qualify as title candidates and appear in an online gallery, which will expand dynamically from October. A jury made up of members from the three largest passenger associations and both rail unions will select the winners by Easter 2016.

The competition is now in its sixth year. In April 2015, the title was awarded for the fifth time. Gold was won by a train driver on the Schönbuchbahn (Travsdev group). Ernst Dast cleared the track with his bare hands after hurricane force winds had left the line. Silver was awarded to Kornelia Scherer, an intercity express bistro stewardess, who looked after a severely ill British couple. The bronze award was given to S-Bahn train driver Axel Schäfer for retrieving a pair of glasses from the track after a passenger had lost them after a fall. A special ‘customer favourite award went to Herbert Kusche, a train attendant on the Black Forest Railway. Since the start of the competition, no other train attendant has been nominated by travellers more often.

Whereas the jury was already spoilt for choice for this year’s title, with 200 nominations and 30 identified candidates, the Pro-Rail Alliance believes that customers will send in even more stories for 2016. “Although we have only just opened nominations we have already received around 40 entries and will be sending the best stories on to the train operators for additional research,” said Dirk Flege, managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance. Many of the customers’ favourite train conductors are already well known from previous years, said Flege. “It doesn’t surprise us really. After all, anyone who has already done a good job will continue to do so.” Alongside the Pro-Rail Alliance, the competition’s jury also has representatives from both railway unions EVG and GDL, the transport club VCD, the passenger organisation Pro Bahn, the rail passenger association DBV, the Federal Association of Regional Passenger Transport Associations BAG SPNV and the National Association of German Railway Enthusiasts BDEF.

German rail companies transport around 7 million passengers per day, with around 6.7million using local and regional services and 360,000 using intercity trains. Most trains are run by the national operator Deutsche Bahn, but passengers are increasingly able to travel on regional trains provided by other operators, with around 25 per cent of services now being offered by companies such as Transdev, Abellio, Netinera, Benex, the Hessische Landesbahn and Keolis. Deutsche Bahn employs around 12,000 staff on trains and more than 10,000 employees look after travellers in stations and provide customer service. There are 14,000 train drivers on intercity and regional trains. The private operators have around 6,500 employees driving trains and looking after passengers, with numbers increasing annually. According to information provided by the EVG rail union, the number of people working for Deutsche Bahn’s competitors has almost doubled since 2000. Deutsche Bahn has also seen a slight increase in the number of its employees.

Additional information (German)