Militant rail workers restored passenger train service in east Germany Wednesday but kept freight transport at a standstill as talks resumed to end the newly unified nation's first big strike.

The strike by 260,000 workers erupted a week before the first all-German elections Sunday. It shaped up as a test of Bonn government policy toward labor strife in Germany's depressed, once-communist east.Deutsche Reichsbahn, former East Germany's state railway, said 90 percent of passenger trains were running again after the union eased strike measures as a goodwill gesture on the eve of exploratory talks Wednesday.