20 January 2007

Mehdorn’s Storm



On Thursday an 8.4 meter long steel beam weighing two tonnes fell off the Hauptbahnhof from a height of 40 meters during the storm ‘Kyrill’. It landed next to where I usually park my bicycle on Tuesday mornings, making a very large hole.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) are running a large article about the incident today, and the inevitable political storm surrounding the incident. The SZ goes into quite some detail about the construction of the outer ‘cage’ surrounding the two bridge-like constructions which straddle the glass-roofed station canopy. According to the paper, the vertical outer beams help support the ceilings inside the building, but the horizontal struts have no supporting function at all, and more worryingly, are neither bolted nor glued to the verticals, but are rather “clamped in” between them.

(l) By means of beams, (r) Kyrill, on Thursday

The SZ goes on to report on how Adolf Pütz, the former construction supervisor of Deutsche Bahn was quoted as saying that the horizontal beams rest on ‘plates’, a word which was later revised to a more solid sounding ‘benches’ after some quick consultation with the DB press officer.

DB boss Mehdorn is also facing increasing pressure to confront critical voices from inside the government, who want to know why his shortening of the glass roof ended up being more expensive than the originally planned longer one.