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Deutsche Bahn to temporarily close important stretch of rail track, affecting millions

German railway operator Deutsche Bahn is expected to close a vital stretch of track between Hanover and Kassel. The closure would impact millions of travelers ahead of the upcoming Hanover industrial fair.

Germany's state-run railway

Deutsche Bahn

(DB) is seeking to close an important stretch between Hanover and Kassel for two whole weeks for construction work, according to newspaper reports.

The closure will begin on April 23 and last until May 8, the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" newspaper

reported (link in German)

, citing a Deutsche Bahn internal paper. Around 170 long and short-distance trains use the Hannover-Kassel track daily.

The closure would affect millions of passengers traveling between some of Germany's largest cities, including Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg. Those traveling to the upcoming Hanover Messe - the world's biggest industrial fair - would also be affected.

DB officials have not yet commented on the potential closure.

Deutsche Bahn had announced in February that it was

raising its number of modernization projects this year

, with about 850 such projects planned for 2016, compared to 500 last year. The company has budgeted 28 billion euros ($31.7 billion) for rail construction and renovation for the years 2015-2019.

DB is facing mounting pressure over unreliable train service. In 2015, 25 percent of long distance trains reached their destinations late. Company chief Rüdiger Grube said he hopes to reduce this figure to 20 percent in 2016 and 15 percent in 2017.

bw/jr (Sueddeutsche.de)

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