British rail workers told to take German lessons as Deutsche Bahn tightens grip in UK *We’re sorry, this train is delayed by approximately 20 minutes.


Rail workers in the UK are being told to take German lessons as part of their training course for operating new track equipment.

The news comes as German rail giant Deutsche Bahn looks to tighten its grip in the UK through the acquisition of the Grand Central franchise, opening up an opportunity to use EU rules to start running services on the East and West Coast, and with the continuing row over the proposed award of the Thameslink fleet contract to Siemens at the expense of UK train building at Bombardier in Derby.

Rail staff on a recent course in Kent were told that they had to learn a series of German phrases relating to instructions on track equipment. RMT says that it would be simpler and safer to get the equipment re-programmed with a translation into English rather than placing the responsibility to learn German on the workforce but the union believes it is all about money.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “From Siemens involvement in the betrayal of BomBardier through to Deutsche Bahn taking over the UK’s Grand Central franchise last week EU diktat is driving a German corporate takeover of Britain’s railways. Profits that could be invested in our services are instead spirited out of the country without touching the sides. It is extraordinary that the German companies can’t even be bothered to translate their safety instructions into English and instead UK rail workers have to take responsibility with these crash courses in O level German.”

* Translation: We’re sorry, this train is delayed by approximately 20 minutes.

Here’s some more useful phrases for RMT members:

Kdo abgew AZGR ANFORD Grund BETRIEBLICH = Reset requested but not carried out due to section being clear

UARTFEHLER = receiver / transmitter fault – corrupted data message

VERBINDUNGSAUSFALL = Connecting failure

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