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Germany

Passengers paid 25 euros not to go to the seaside

An intercity train in northern Germany was so full of passengers heading to the coast for the Easter weekend that Deutsche Bahn was forced to hand out vouchers to those who agreed to get off the train.

An empty beach chair on the island of Sylt

The classic beach image has universal appeal in Germany

It was the start of the four-day Easter weekend. The weather forecast was exceptional: sunny, 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). It seems thousands of Germans had the same idea: head to the sea.

But one train in Münster became so full on Friday that train operator Deutsche Bahn offered passengers without seats 25 euros ($36) to get off the train.

The train was traveling from the city of Frankfurt to the island of Sylt, which lies west of the German-Danish border. Sylt is a hugely popular holiday destination, offering traditional seaside fun, miles of golden sand and fresh sea air.

Safety concerns

A Deutsche Bahn spokesman explained that the InterCity 2310 was "hopelessly overcrowded." He said the train was forced to stop in Münster for safety reasons. Numerous passengers had been standing in the gangways, blocking emergency exits.

An InterCity Express train at dusk

The train continued its journey north with minor delays

The police were on hand in case rail staff needed assistance. According to the spokesman, however, they did not intervene.

"We asked all passengers without reservations to leave the train," the spokesman said. "In the end, all the passengers showed understanding." He added that it was a "one-off incident."

The train continued on its journey, with 20 to 30 minutes delay. Most affected passengers were able to simply take the next train to Sylt.

Author: Joanna Impey (AP, dpa)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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