Closure of migrants' main rail route to Germany from Austria extended

VIENNA: The suspension of regular train service on a link that tens of thousands of migrants used to get from Austria into Germany has been extended by eight days to Oct. 12, Austria's rail operator OeBB said on Friday.

Germany closed the rail link with the Austrian city of Salzburg on Sept. 15 to slow down the influx of migrants across its border, though many have since found other ways German territory whether by train, road or on foot.

Austria, wedged between Hungary and Germany, has been a centre of the migration crisis unfolding across Europe with over 500,000 people, many fleeing war and poverty in countries like Syria, having reached the continent to date this year.

"Due to instructions from the German authorities train traffic from and to Germany from Salzburg is halted until at least Oct. 12," OeBB said on its website.

Other trains to Germany from Austria are still running on more eastern routes and special trains have been transporting hundreds of migrants into Germany every day in the past few weeks.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was initially feted at home and abroad for her welcoming approach to the refugees. But as the flow has continued and German facilities have been stretched to the limit, she has faced increasing criticism.