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A visit to the doctor in Bruck an der Mur was recently scheduled for the 84-year-old father-in-law of Günther Kaltenbacher from Scheifling. “In the interest of the environment, we wanted to leave our car behind and take the train,” says Kaltenbacher, who accompanied the severely visually impaired man. After a stopover in Leoben, where the father-in-law visited the bank, we took the regional train back to Scheifling.

Shortly before Knittelfeld, the 84-year-old had to go to the toilet urgently: “Unfortunately, the toilet was locked, fellow passengers say that it has been like this for a week,” says Kaltenbacher, annoyed at the lack of service. “It can’t be the case that you advertise public transport but don’t meet basic standards such as functioning toilets on trains. You think about taking the car again in the future.”

Helpful train driver

However, there is praise for the humane reaction of the train driver: When he was made aware of the emergency situation, he made an unplanned, longer stop at the station in Judenburg so that the visually impaired man could go to the toilet in peace. The fact that this might cause delays in the timetable was accepted without comment. “Very friendly and helpful,” says Kaltenbacher, happy about the bright spot.

On request, ÖBB was informed that the problem was being solved: “Currently, the toilets in 2 of the 41 trains that are in circulation on the route in question are defective,” said press spokeswoman Rosanna Zernatto-Peschel. It is also a certain amount of bad luck when travelers find a train with a locked toilet several times in a row. “Of course we apologize in all formalities and are working to ensure that all toilets will soon be usable again.” An unscheduled stopover is always possible if the worst comes to the worst: “Just knock on the engine driver’s front and a solution will always be found.”