Clock at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (Photo: DB/Christian Bedeschinski).

GERMANY: Staff representatives at Deutsche Bahn's passenger business have proposed to the DB AG board that the date of Europe's annual timetable change should revert to the end of October, arguing that the decision in 2002 to move the annual revision to the second weekend in December has not been successful.

One of the major criticisms of the current arrangement is that having the timetable change so close to the Christmas and New Year holiday period makes it difficult for passengers to book advance tickets and reservations on the internet more than six weeks ahead. The staff representatives are also concerned that drivers and train crew have little warning of when they will be expected to work over the holiday period.

The representatives have therefore put forward a motion suggesting that the annual change should in future be concurrent with the change from summer to winter time on the last weekend of October.

Given that any alteration to the timetable change date would need to be agreed by all European railways, DB AG has been asked to raise the matter with the Community of European Railways in Brussels.

The ECG union of railway and transport workers has endorsed the proposal, and is seeking support at the international level from the European Transport Workers' Federation.