The passengers became alarmed at the manner in which the train was starting and stopping on its journey from the border city of Aachen in western Germany. Two of them then spoke directly to the train driver and noticed signs of alcohol consumption, including red and glassy eyes, according to a police spokesman.
After the passengers alerted the police, the officers halted the train in Stolberg and tested the man for alcohol.
"On arrival the officers were also able to recognize clear signals of the consumption of intoxicating substances," a police statement on the case said.
The blood test determined the 30-year-old man was "beyond the limit of being absolutely incapable" to drive, with over 2 grams of alcohol per liter of blood, according to a report published in the Die Welt daily.
Passengers 'safe,' company says
The legal limit in Germanyfor car drivers is complex, but the "absolute" limit at which drivers will always face fines is 1.1 grams of alcohol per liter of blood (or 1.1 milligram per 100 milliliters of blood, to use the scale favored in the UK and US) is invariably treated as excessive.
However, the national train company Deutsche Bahn has a policy of zero alcohol consumption for its on-duty employees.
It was not immediately clear how long the man had been driving intoxicated. The rail company said that passengers were in no danger due to safety systems in the train and on the track.
The police also tested the driver for drugs, but the results were negative, authorities said.
Officers have taken away the man's train driving permit and he is now facing criminal proceedings, according to the police. The company, Deutsche Bahn, is also preparing separate disciplinary measures.
dj/msh (dpa, AFP)