Monday, March 07, 2011

Mother forced by timetable to leave toddler on German train

German railway officials refused to heed a mother's pleas to halt an express with her two-year-old aboard alone – because the train had to run on time. Marie Luise Kracht, two, sat alone as the train sped through the countryside near Berlin for an hour while a police car raced to catch it up.

Ulrike Kracht, 19, had pleaded with Deutsche Bahn staff to somehow stop the train after its automatic doors closed at a station. She was unloading her possessions and pushchair before returning for Marie Luise when her way was blocked and the train began pulling away. Ms Kracht spoke of how she had spent the weekend with Marie Luise at her grandmother's near Berlin and was returning to Pritzwalk.

“I was getting my things out of the station at the stop when the doors suddenly closed with my daughter inside!“ she said. “It was the worst moment of my life. I heard Marie Luise shout 'mama' and she was gone!“ She said two German railways employees banged frantically on the doors to try to get them open but without success. But when she asked to radio ahead to stop the train she says she was told: “We can't do that. It must run on schedule.“

Later a railways spokeswoman said: “There was no train coming back in the other direction anyway because of a strike.“ The child was alone for an hour until the train halted in Neurippin. Her mother was in a police car racing through the countryside with its lights and sirens blaring to get to the station before the train moved again. “I was all right until I saw her and then the tears came and she started crying then too,“ said Ulrike. Deutsche Bahn has promised an inquiry.


Unknown said...

...why did she leave the kid in the train in the first place?

Insolitus said...

It says in the article she was unloading her things off the train first. It's better to have your luggage and the pushchair ready and waiting your child on the platform than your child waiting on the platform while you get your stuff. Apparently there were no gentlemen around to lend her a hand.