Construction work, delays and poor bus line connections are causing dismay among the inhabitants of northern Luxembourg.
Last week, another incident on the northern line brought rail traffic in this region of Luxembourg to a standstill. There are currently no trains departing from Ettelbruck. At the end of August 2022, a rock fall occurred in the Schieburg railway tunnel on the same line. The reopening of the tunnel, scheduled for mid-April, has now been postponed due to a seven-week delay in construction. The problems are piling up, and passengers are furious.
Drauffelt, near Clervaux, shortly after 6am: those heading to Luxembourg City have to be patient.
Due to the closure of the Schieburg Tunnel, the locals are already used to substitute buses since last summer. Because there are now no trains running in the north, people have to travel from Kautenbach to Ottelbruck by bus instead. A bus that runs once an hour.
That morning, the problems start with the timetable. The passengers debate which bus leaves at which time for which destination. Nobody has worked out that the bus will come at 6.30am instead of 6am.
"I still go to school and do my best to be there on time, but CFL doesn't always make it easy for me. The only thing left for me to do is to go to Ettelbruck and see if there's a connection there, and then maybe do a bit more research in the afternoon," says Stanislav Valchev, a secondary school student.
Gilbert Klein and his family also rely on buses. For the engineer, a car is out of the question: he has to go to Belval, where it would be impossible for him to find a parking space. The problem is that there is not enough time between the arrival of the replacement bus and the departure of the train in Ettelbruck. When the bus is stuck in a traffic jam, he frequently misses the connection, meaning that he needs an additional 30 to 60 minutes to get to work. He opens his "Mobilitéit" app: the 6.50am train is still listed, but there are no other buses. On the day the TV report was made, the bus was already late in Drauffelt.
The uncertainties and delays are causing a stir in a Facebook group. The call for testimonies by our colleagues from RTL.lu was widely shared and commented on. Some people take it with humour, with one user encouraging the "highlanders" to stay strong.
Others, like Sarah Laurent, are furious. The signs indicating where the substitute buses for the return journey depart are confusing, and anyone who misses the connection in Ettelbruck is out of luck: "I need two hours extra every day, once I got home at 9pm. But we can't do it any longer, we've reached our breaking point."
Full report by RTL Télé (in Luxembourgish):