Normally, trains on the Kiel–Flensburg route cross the Schlei bridge near Lindaunis.

Since mid-September, however, passengers in Schleswig-Holstein have had to get off and walk across the Schlei.

Due to construction work, the bridge is closed to cars and trains.

Pedestrians and cyclists can still get across - a fact that Deutsche Bahn takes advantage of.

Instead of rail replacement services with buses and kilometers of detours, this winter the company is relying on commuter trains and passengers who are good on foot.

A railway spokeswoman for the German Press Agency said that extra replacement stops had been set up at the north and south ends of the bridge.

The trains approach the bridge from Flensburg or Kiel, the passengers disembark, pass the Schlei on foot and board the other train on the other side of the bridge.

They have to cover around 350 meters in this way.

They have twelve minutes to do this, the spokeswoman said.

The bus ride takes half an hour longer

Sounds unusual – and it is.

"Here in the north, this procedure was planned for the first time," said the railway spokeswoman.

The ProBahn passenger association is reminiscent of a similar situation in the south of the republic.

About 30 years ago, the bridge over the Inn on the route from Mühldorf in Upper Bavaria to Rosenheim was damaged, said Stefan Barkleit, chairman of the Schleswig-Holstein/Hamburg state association, the dpa.

Breakpoints were also set up there at the bridge "and that worked extremely well".

For Barkleit, the march across the bridge is "the most sensible solution".

The bridge would have to be rebuilt and replacement bus services would mean long detours with significantly longer travel times, said Barkleit.

“The only problem we have is with wheelchair users.

A wheelchair taxi has to be organized for them, but that’s also doable.”

According to Bahn, about 40 kilometers of detours are saved.

The bus ride takes about half an hour longer than crossing the bridge.

The solution was coordinated with the Nah.SH local transport association, among others.

"As a result, a time-consuming replacement bus service between Eckernförde and Süderbrarup, like last winter, is no longer necessary."

Since September 2020, Deutsche Bahn has been renovating the bascule bridge over the Schlei near Lindaunis on the Kiel-Flensburg route.

The bridge, the oldest parts of which date from 1892 according to the railway, will be replaced by a completely new bascule bridge.

Until the planned completion of the new bridge in 2025, the old bascule bridge will be closed to trains and motor vehicles for several months each year.