Pro-Rail Alliance looking for the best railway stories

Passengers nominate railway staff for the ‘Big-Hearted Rail Employee’ award

Stories about big hearted rail employees are now wanted for 2017
Linda – our mascot for all big-hearted rail employees - has been looking for Germany’s best railway stories seven years. Passengers can tell us how rail employees saved them from a difficult situation during a journey.

Berlin, August 25 2016. The German Pro-Rail Alliance is once again 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 2017 to nominate their candidates for the Big-Hearted Rail Employee competition 2017. Those railway employees who can be identified from the information provided in the best customer nominations will then qualify as title candidates and appear in an online gallery, which will continue expand from October. A jury made up of members from the three largest passenger associations and both rail unions will select the winners by Easter 2017.

Competition now in its seventh consecutive year

The competition is now in its seventh year. The title was last awarded in April this year. Gold went to the Abellio train attendant Lena-Sophia Nobbe who helped a family of refugees from a racist man shouting abuse. Silver went to DB Regio train driver Fatih Yilmazil from Freudenstadt who protected female passengers that were being sexually harassed by a drunk passenger. The jury awarded bronze to trainee travel centre employee Kevin Hauseder from Munich who helped a married couple who had missed each other’s connections several times before he reunited them on the same train.

Touching railway stories: the Big-Hearted Rail Employees 2016
The Big-Hearted Rail Employees 2016

Railway stories from the regions

Along with the three national winners, the jury also makes awards to eight regional winners who show outstanding commitment to passengers in difficulties in their local states. In Baden-Württemberg, the award went to Maria Verna from DB Regio for taking special care of a female refugee. In Bavaria, the title went to the BOB train driver Markus Schmidt for helping a group of asylum seekers to reach their accommodation during a severe storm. The ICE train attendant Enrico Gottwald from Berlin-Brandenburg impressed the jury with his excellent service in first class. In Hamburg, the ICE train manager Anne Feilke saved a dog from heat stroke, in Hesse HLB train attendant Siegbert Giese won over the jury with his mobile phone hotline for commuters. In Lower Saxony, the big-hearted rail employee Gero Müller works at Leer station, where he made sure there was a happy end for a woman in a wheel chair on a rainy night. On the NordWestBahn in North Rhine-Westphalia the winner was train driver Werner van de Loo, who caught a pickpocket red handed. In Saxony-Anhalt HEX employee Lars Jaeger retrieved a lost mobile phone that had fallen behind a cover panel. Overview of all railway stories (German).

Already 30 railway stories for 2017

For 2017, the Pro-Rail Alliance is once again reckoning on numerous nominations from rail passengers. “In contrast with last year we have hardly received any stories involving refugees. But although we have only just begun asking for passengers’ nominations we have already received 30 good stories. We will forward the best stories to the rail operators so that they can research the background,” said the managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, Dirk Flege. A few of the passengers’ favourite train attendants are already known to us from last year, said Flege. “It’s no surprise. Whoever does a good job once will always 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.

Rail operators transport 7 million passengers daily

German rail companies transport around 7 million passengers per day, with 6.7 million 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 7,000 employees look after passengers in stations and sales. There are more than 18,000 train drivers on intercity and regional trains. The private operators have around 6,500 employees driving trains and looking after passengers.


Additional information (German):