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Business

German Rail to Stay Put in Berlin

After months of bickering between Hamburg and Berlin on whether the German Rail would move is headquarters, the state-owned company is staying in Berlin. In fact, they said, they never planned to leave at all.

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Never planned on leaving: Bahn CEO Hartmut Mehdorn

The story dominated Berlin newspapers in the final months of 2005: Would the Deutsche Bahn take its headquarters and 1,000 jobs to Hamburg, pushing up the city's 18.1 percent unemployment rate even more?

CEO Hartmut Mehdorn, who had expressed the desire to see the state-owned company go private in a few years, wanted to move the headquarters from Berlin to demonstrate independence from the federal government. After a talk with transportation minister Wolfgang Tiefensee Mehdorn, he said discussion about the Bahn's move was a "misunderstanding."

"The Bahn never planned to move its headquarters from Berlin to Hamburg," said a Bahn spokesman on Thursday. Rather the talk was of moving "central functions" from Berlin to Hamburg. The rail company also planned to invest in Hamburg's harbor company and the city's public transportation company, Hochbahn.


Thos investments now appear in doubt, although Hamburg Mayor Ole von Beust says he will continue negotiations with the Bahn.

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