Germany - General Information

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Country Name

Germany (Deutschland)

National Railway System

Deutsche Bahn AG (DB).

National Railway Operator

Deutsche Bahn AG is a company wholly owned by the German government. It functions through a large number of subsidiary companies. The principal ones, responsible for railway operations in Germany, and their particular activities are:

  • DB Fernverkehr AG: InterCity and other long-distance passenger services
  • DB Regio AG: Local passenger services
  • DB Vertrieb GmbH: Passenger marketing and sales
  • DB Cargo Deutschland AG: Freight services
  • DB Netz AG: Infrastructure
  • DB Station&Service AG: Stations

DB Regio AG has numerous wholly-owned subsidiaries including many bus companies and:

  • DB RegioNetz Verkehrs GmbH
  • DB ZugBus Regionalverkehr Alb-Bodensee GmbH
  • S-Bahn Berlin GmbH
  • S-Bahn Hamburg GmbH
  • Vorpommernbahn GmbH

DB Regio AG is also part owner of numerous other transport companies. Most DB local train services are the responsibility of DB RegioNetz Verkehrs GmbH.

Language

German

Currency

Euro

UIC codes

  • Deutsche Bahn AG: numeric 80, alpha DB.
  • Ahaus Alstätter Eisenbahn GmbH and Bentheimer Eisenbahn AG: numeric 68, alpha AAE.

The former Deutsche Reichsbahn code was 50, but this will now be seen only on withdrawn or museum vehicles. UIC code 50 now applies to ŽFBH, the railway of the Muslim-Croat Federation of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Timetable

Journey Planner

Downloadable Timetable

kursbuch.bahn.de/hafas/kbview.exe/d.&rt=1&mainframe=tab_main

This gives options to search by:

  • Bahnhof/Halt (Station/Halt)
  • Liniennummer (Line Number. Note this is not the table number, but the S-Bahn line number)
  • Kursbuchstreckennummer (Timetable table number)
  • Zugnummer (Train number e.g. IC 1234)

Alternatively, click on "Tabellenübersichten" in the left hand column. This contains further sections:

  • Regionaltabellen (In spite of its name, a complete table list)
  • Bustabellen (Bus services)
  • Schifffahrtstabellen (Shipping services)
  • Bergbahnen (Mountain railways)
  • Museums- und Nostalgiebahnen (Preserved railways)

from which one can select the desired table number.

Printed Timetable

DB no longer provides a hard-copy national timetable. The 2007-8 Kursbuch was the last one available for general sale. Some Länder have continued to sponsor the production of printed timetable books in Kursbuch format, but only for those tables traversing the relevant Land: Baden-Württemberg, Thüringen, NRW and Bayern (only via mail order) have been observed.

Engineering Information

bauarbeiten.bahn.de in German only.

The DB Bahn website now offers an Alternative train connections service: "Detour recommended: Now you know which connection will get you to your destination in the event of delays or disruptions".

A new app DB Bauarbeiten is available in both Android and iPhone versions but may not be available outside Germany.

The APKPure DB Bauarbeiten app gives a number of options.

Bus Information

The Journey Planner (above) selects bus services if they provide the best journey.

DB IC Bus provides some useful routes such as Hahn Airport - Trier.

Maps

Printed Maps

  • Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland (10th Edn 2017, ISBN 978-3-89494-146-8), published by Verlag Schweers + Wall GmbH (website) with key in German and English shows railways at 1:300.000 scale, with enlargements for most large towns and cities. Single and double-track lines, electrified and freight-only railways are distinguished. Non-DB passenger train operators are noted next to lines that they use and privately-owned lines and those leased from DB are shown, with the operator as well if different. The gauge of narrow-gauge lines is stated. Lines out of use and those entirely closed are also shown. Details can occasionally be confused in congested areas, particularly because parallel lines are used to show railways with more than two tracks. Built-up areas, motorways, rivers, canals and forests are depicted.
  • DB's Karte für den Personenverkehr Deutschland, which is available from DB travel centres and agencies, shows all German railways on a sheet map at a scale of 1:1,200,000. A new edition is issued with each December timetable change. It currently costs EUR4.
  • European Railway Atlas (latest edition Sep 2017) and the more detailed European Railway Atlas: Germany (July 2016), by M.G. Ball. The German atlas shows all passenger, freight and proposed lines (some metros are excluded or simplified) and all stations on the national network. Heritage railways and draisine lines are also depicted. Electrification systems and track gauges are marked, and main lines are distinguished from secondary and single track distinguished from multiple. There is a full index of stations and heritage railways, together with weblinks. They are available from the European Railway Atlas website.

Web-based Maps

  • Sporenplan has a series of on-line maps and schematic track diagrams. Click on "Sporenplannen" on the left hand side for a map showing the countries covered.
  • Thorsten Büker's Map of Germany, with enlargements of Hamburg, Berlin, the Rhein-Ruhr area and the Main-Neckar area.
  • Maps and Plans - Germany
  • DB Network diagrams show lines with regular local passenger service in each federal state. The graphical style and level of detail varies slightly from state to state; S-Bahn services and local services by other train operators are often shown with less detail. Lines used only by long-distance trains are usually omitted.
  • The DB Netz Infrastructure Register. It is based around an interactive map which, although a good source for junction names and line numbers, can be misleading at small scales due to extreme stylization. Each named Bahnhof is shown as a point even though it may be geographically extensive relative to nearby lines, so if for example two corners of a triangular junction are signaled as part of the same Bahnhof the interactive map will show it as two parallel lines with no indication that they connect to the Bahnhof in different directions. The interactive map does lead to more accurate track diagrams for most larger stations, though. Double-clicking on one of the small circles with the "Selektion" tool opens a list of further links, in which the "Serviceeinrichtungen" link, if present, leads to a PDF containing a track diagram on one of the last pages. The "Detailplan" link will show an SVG diagram which is often garbled and of little use. The Infrastukturregister contains a third set of track diagrams under the TEN Spurpläne heading. These are also in SVG format, but less likely to be garbled than the ones accessible from the interactive map. On the other hand, many larger stations are split into multiple named parts each with a separate diagram, and it can be difficult to figure out how they fit together without crossreferencing with the Serviceeinrichtungen diagram for the entire station. As such they are most useful for figuring out where in the station a particular named part is.

Ticketing

DB offers its own network tickets, which give much better value than the standard One Country passes.

Among the most useful tickets is the Schönes-Wochenende Ticket, which gives unlimited travel for up to five people travelling together on all local trains (S-Bahn, RB, RE and IRE) on a Saturday or Sunday. This includes almost all private operators (except most tourist and preserved railways). A few lines that cross into neighbouring countries are included. The ticket is also valid on many tram, U-Bahn and bus services, but not all. One notable exception is the RMV area (Frankfurt-am-Main and Wiesbaden). The ticket is valid from midnight at the start of one day until 03.00 on the following day. The number of people travelling must now be specified when booking - there is a base fare for one passenger with each additional passenger (up to five in total) being charged a small extra amount. Tickets are best purchased online or from a ticket vending machine as there is a EUR 2 surcharge when they are bought at a ticket office.

The weekday equivalent of the Schönes-Wochenende Ticket is the Quer-durchs-Land Ticket. It is valid on all local trains after 09.00 on a weekday until 03.00 the following day. It is however not valid on local city transport (trams, buses and U-Bahn services). It costs slightly more, both for the base fare and for each additional passenger, than the Schönes-Wochenende Ticket. It costs EUR 2 extra to buy this ticket at a ticket office.

Länder Tickets give unlimited travel for up to five people for one day throughout the Land (and in some cases a neighbouring Land as well) concerned on local trains. Most Länder also offer a cheaper ticket for one person. Most urban areas have their own Tarifverbund or Verkehrsverbund in which local fares apply. Nearly all of these offer day tickets or other concessions.

Länder Tickets are occasionally valid on some express services. Official validity information is best obtained from the TBFE website, the website of the German train operating companies.

Bargain tickets include Sparpreise which are the equivalent of British 'Advance' tickets, and are subject to similar restrictions. They are only available on journeys that involve at least one leg on an IC/EC or ICE service, and on those services the specified train must be used. Local connecting services (as part of the through journey) are not time-restricted; although a suggested service may be shown, this is not binding.

Special fares are payable on ICE services; if purchasing a ticket for a route on which ICE trains operate it is important to specify which type of train it is intended to use.

DB tickets were valid on HKX long distance services but this ceased from 31 Aug 2016. Negotiations are still ongoing regarding Interrail and Eurail tickets. See DB-Ticket im HKX.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure Authority

DB Netz AG, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG, is responsible for track and infrastructure.

The Eisenbahn-Bundesamt (EBA) is a government agency tasked with regulatory oversight of safety and some other matters, independent of DB.

Network Statement

DB Netz AG > Network Statement 2014

Gauge

Standard. There are various narrow-gauge private lines. DB operates a metre-gauge line on the island of Wangerooge. The train ferry terminal at Sassnitz Fährhafen (Mukran) has 1524 mm gauge tracks to receive and despatch wagons from and to Klaipeda, in addition to the standard gauge tracks. The funicular section Obstfelderschmiede - Lichtenhain is 1800 mm gauge.

Electrification

15 kV 16.7 Hz. The line between Emmerich and the Netherlands border was 1500 V dc but has now been converted to 25 kV ac for easier operation of Betuwelijn freight traffic. This means that trains between Emmerich and Arnhem must be able to operate under three different electrification systems.

The Berlin S-Bahn is 800V dc third rail, and the Hamburg S-Bahn is 1200V dc third rail. Obstfelderschmiede to Cursdorf is 500V dc overhead and Blankenburg (Harz) to Königshütte is 25kV 50Hz (This line is out of use between Königshütte and Elbingerode).

Rule of the road

Right. A short piece of the Aachen - Liège main line has left-hand running between the west end of the Busch Tunnel and the Belgian border. There is also left-hand running between a flyover at Nürnberg-Reichelsdorf and Nürnberg Hbf, in order to facilitate reversal at the latter by trains between the Treuchtlingen and Würzburg lines.

Distances

The Schweers + Wall Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland (ISBN 978-3-89494-136-9) is the best source of distance information.

Other Railways

See separate document.

Tourist lines

Very few tourist lines run frequently - fortnightly during the summer is quite common, although some operate only two or three times a year. In many cases these are weekend operations over private freight lines. Whilst many tourist trains are steam-worked, numerous preserved railbuses and diesel locomotives are also used. A German language site Eisenbahn Vereinskarte Deutschland comprises an interactive map of Germany showing most preserved railways. An English language site gives an overview map split by Lander, with a list of many lines in alphabetical order in each Lander section. Both give direct links to the various railways' homepages/timetables. The DB website gives timetables for a number of preserved lines in its Museums- und Nostalgiebahnen section, sometimes in a more easily intelligible form than the railways’ own websites. Timetables and other information about tourist lines are published annually in Kursbuch der deutschen Museums-Eisenbahnen (now published by Eisenbahn Kurier, EK-Verlag GmbH, Lörracher Str. 16, 79115 Freiburg, tel +49 761 703100). However, after this guide was issued, the Watchl-Bahn did not resume operation in 2017 as it did not pass an official inspection. Owing to the very large number of tourist lines in Germany, no one source appears to give a comprehensive list of every operation, so it is suggested that each of the above sources is consulted.

A special category are Parkeisenbahnen, which are complex miniature railways where operations closely follow the prototype. A comprehensive list of these is given in Wikipedia.

Rail cycling ('Draisinenfahrten') is possible on a number of lines; see the IG Draisinenfahrten website. Click on 'Deutschland' to obtain a list of operations in geographical order with some useful information. Click on 'International', followed by 'Draisinenlinks' to obtain website details.

Metro

Berlin, Hamburg, München, Nürnberg. A number of other cities have underground tram routes, known as U-Bahn or Stadtbahn, including Bielefeld, Bochum, Bonn, Dortmund see TSUL for Signal-Iduna-Park service , Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Essen, Frankfurt am Main, Gelsenkirchen, Hannover, Kassel, Köln, Ludwigshafen, Mannheim, Mühlheim (Ruhr) and Stuttgart.

Track plans for most or all metro and tram systems in Germany are available on the Gleisplanweb site or Doprava

Trams

Augsburg, Bad Schandau, Berlin, Bielefeld, Bochum, Bonn, Brandenburg, Braunschweig, Bremen, Chemnitz, Cottbus, Darmstadt, Dessau, Dortmund, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Erfurt, Essen, Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt am Oder, Freiburg (Breisgau), Gelsenkirchen, Gera, Görlitz, Gotha, Halberstadt, Halle (Saale), Hannover, Heidelberg, Jena, Karlsruhe, Kassel, Köln, Krefeld, Leipzig, Ludwigshafen, Magdeburg, Mainz, Mannheim, Mülheim (Ruhr), München, Nordhausen, Nürnberg, Plauen, Potsdam, Rostock, Rüdersdorf, Schwerin, Strausberg, Stuttgart, Ulm, Woltersdorf, Würzburg, Zwickau. Many neighbouring systems are interlinked. It is possible to travel entirely by tram, changing cars and gauge several times, all the way from Benrath (south of Düsseldorf) to Witten (east of Bochum). This is reputed to be the longest possible journey by tram anywhere in the world.

Track plans for most or all tram systems in Germany are available on the Gleisplanweb site or on the Doprava website.

See also Germany - Tram services over obscure routes

Recent and Future Changes

General

In the early 2000s DB was re-organised on a divisional basis, as a prelude to privatisation, but plans to float parts of DB, particularly the long-distance business, were shelved after the worldwide financial crisis of 2007. DB has acquired many interests abroad (for example, in UK alone: DB Cargo, Chiltern Railways and Arriva).

The funding of local transport, including railways, now rests with the Länder (Provinces) and in some areas responsibility has been devolved to the Kreise (Districts). Western Länder are generally supportive of rail and many lines have been re-opened in the last couple of decades. However in the eastern Länder many lines have been closed as a result of depopulation and increasing car ownership since reunification, and lack of funds to support such a dense network of local services. The trends of re-openings in the West and closures in the East look likely to continue.

The German railways were never entirely nationalised, with various independent lines surviving, particularly in Baden-Württemberg. Länder are responsible for tendering the operation of local passenger services, and many independent operators have won tenders in competition with DB. In some cases these are long-established, local railway companies, expanding out of their own network. Some operators are entirely new and many are subsidiaries of foreign companies or the state railways of other European countries.

Open access long-distance passenger and freight operation is possible in Germany. Increasing numbers of open access freight operators are running trains, but there has been limited success with passenger services, despite DB Netz having been ordered to charge the same prices for track access to DB and non-DB operators alike. Georg Verkehrs (of Germany) and Snälltåget (of Sweden - a subsidiary of Transdev) operate overnight trains between Berlin and Malmö for a limited summer season each year. Transdev also operate the Harz-Berlin Express between Goslar/Thale and Berlin.

The only other non-DB long-distance services (apart from cross-border trains such as Thalys) are operated by Flixtrain, a joint venture between German long-distance coach firm Flixbus and Czech coach and open-access rail company LEO Express. One train pair runs 4-5 times per week between Köln and Hamburg (the former Hamburg-Köln Express (HKX) service) and one pair runs daily between Stuttgart and Berlin via Frankfurt (Main) Süd (the former Locomore service). There is also a Hamburg-Lörrach overnight car-carrying service in the summer months (the former Bahn Touristik Express service).

Other former long-distance operators include Eurobahn, Vogtlandbahn and InterConnex.

Openings

Forthcoming Openings

The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt), a southward expansion of the existing Schönefeld airport, was scheduled to open on 3 June 2012. However, this was postponed indefinitely owing to delays in commissioning the fire safety system. The new terminal is to the south of the runways. A new east-west line, underneath the terminal complex and parallel to the existing Berliner Außenring, was completed in 2011. At its eastern end it uses part of the former Berlin-Schöneweide (Abzw Grünau) – Berlin ILA-Bahnhof (Schönefeld Flughafen Süd) line. At its western end it curves northwards towards the Außenring, which it joins by means of a triangular junction, with curves facing both east and west. The east curve will carry only S-Bahn services, an extension of lines S9 and S45 from the existing Schönefeld-Flughafen station, which will terminate at the new station. The west curve and the line eastwards to Abzw Grünau will handle IC, ICE, RE and RB services to a variety of destinations. According to the airport website, the date for opening is October 2020.

The reopening of the Ilmebahn from Einbeck-Salzderhelden to Einbeck Mitte (4.2km) has been deferred until December 2018, one year later than planned, because a bridge over the river Ilme cannot be refurbished and will have to be renewed.

Calw - Weil der Stadt is due to reopen in December 2020, two years later than planned. The line will be known as the Hermann-Hesse-Bahn. Trains will run through to Renningen, sharing tracks with the S6 from Weil der Stadt.

The Bentheimer Eisenbahn will reopen to passengers in December 2018 from Bad Bentheim as far as Neuenhaus.

The Eifel-Bördebahn between Düren and Euskirchen, which currently has a weekend- and holiday-only service of four train pairs under the designation RB28, was due to regain a daily service (six train pairs SX; four SSuO) in December 2018; however press reports suggest that this will be delayed owing to signalling issues. The end-to-end journey time will be reduced from 60 to 50 minutes. In 2020 an hourly service is planned with a journey time of 35 minutes. This will be possible with automation of level crossings and a modest line-speed increase. This will make avoiding Köln Hbf an attractive option for journeys such as Aachen to Trier.

Gelsenkirchen-Buer Nord - Recklinghausen Hbf, part of the Hamm-Osterfelder Bahn, will reopen to passengers in December 2019, forming a second branch of the S9 service which currently terminates at Haltern am See.

Dombühl - Dinkelsbühl is planned for reopening to passengers in December 2019, but this may be deferred.

The extension of the S28 Kaarst - Neuss - Düsseldorf - Mettmann service to Wuppertal-Vohwinkel and Wuppertal Hbf is under construction. It uses the existing freight-only route between Mettmann and Dornap-Hahnenfurth (which will be doubled) and is new construction from there to a junction with the Velbert - Wuppertal line just north of Wuppertal-Vohwinkel. Doubling of the Neuss - Kaarst section is also planned, along with electrification of both the western (Neuss - Kaarst) and eastern (Düsseldorf-Gerresheim - Dornap-Hahnenfurth [- Wuppertal]) arms. Completion of the entire project is expected in December 2019.

Reinstatement of main line tracks (closed 1952) alongside the S-Bahn on the Dresdner Bahn from Berlin Südkreuz to Blankenfelde (Kr. Teltow-Flaming) is underway. Services on the line are due to commence in December 2025. This will speed up trains between Berlin and Dresden and also allow a fast service to Berlin-Brandenburg airport via a new north-to-east curve at Glasower Damm. This is expected to mean the end of regular passenger services over the curves from Genshagener Heide Mitte to Großbeeren Süd.

Projected Developments

Rebuilding of Ducherow – Świnoujście (Poland) and Barth – Zingst (and possibly to Prerow) are included in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan. A decision on the latter is expected in December 2017. The Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Development Plan now includes extension of the Mecklenburg Bäderbahn (Bad Doberan – Kühlungsborn West) westwards to Rerik and eastwards to Warnemünde.

Niedersachsen has agreed that Salzgitter-Lebenstedt - Salzgitter-Fredenberg should be reopened (targeted for December 2018).

Contract negotiations have started for replacement of the Puttgarden - Rødby train ferry with the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link, which will include the world's longest immersed tube tunnel. Completion is due in 2028. A double-track electrified line on a new alignment would be built between Lübeck and Puttgarden, replacing the existing single-track route, which may be closed.

Boblingen to Dettenhausen is being electrified with Completion planned for December 2018

Financing is agreed for Electrification from Ulm via Friedrichshafen to Lindau for completion by 2021. As a consequence this may become the last line to use Class 218 Diesels.

To improve access for freight to Jade-Weser-Port in Wilhelmshaven, the Sande - Esens line (line 1540) is planned to be diverted over a new 4.7km double-track alignment from Sande towards the junction with the port line at Abzw. Weißer Floh. This will run to the east of the existing single-track line through Sanderbusch, which will be closed and the halt at Sanderbusch abandoned.

The DB subsidiary Euregiobahn has published plans to extend its RB20 service (KBS482) by 5km from Stolberg Altstadt to Stolberg-Breinig. Electrification of this line, the ring line through Alsdorf and the Eschweiler Talbahn to Langerwehe is also planned.

Land Schleswig-Holstein intends to reopen fully the line from Kiel Hbf to Schönberger Strand (KBS133), which currently only has seasonal tourist trains beyond Kiel-Oppendorf.

Land Brandenburg plans to reopen the following lines by 2022:

Bad Saarow Klinikum - Bad Saarow Süd (1.6km extension over former line to Beeskow);

[Beelitz Stadt -] Beelitz Bea - Lienewitz Lia [- Ferch-Lienewitz] (reinstatement of bridge over the Belzig - Berlin line to be used by a new Jüterbog to Potsdam service);

Priort - Wustermark Rbf Wot (south to east curve to be used by a new Potsdam to Berlin service).

Actual Openings

2017
513 Dippoldiswalde – Kurort Kipsdorf (reopening after 2002 flood damage) 19 June
133 [Kiel Hbf -] Kiel Schulen am Langsee - Kiel-Oppendorf 4 September
200.9 Treptower Park - Warschauer Straße (S-Bahn Berlin) 10 December
459 Meinerzhagen - Brügge (Westf) 10 December
580 Erfurt - Ebensfeld, including connections to and from Coburg (Schnellfahrstrecke) 10 December
2016
225 Brieske – Hosena temporarily (until 24 September 2016) owing to closure of Ruhland - Hosena for engineering work 30 January
482 [Alsdorf Poststrasse -] Eschweiler-St.Jöris - Stolberg (Rheinl.) Hbf 12 June
908 Gotteszell - Viechtach (initially for a 2-year trial period, now extended for a further year until 11.09.2019 ) 12 September
541 Wünschendorf Nord - Gera-Zwötzen (0.5km connection to allow closure of line via Gera-Liebschwitz) 25 October
2015
680 Heimbach (Nahe) – Baumholder (deferred from 14 December 2014 by lack of crew) 23 February
622 Frankenberg (Eder) - Korbach 14 September
209.23 Ferch-Lienewitz – Beelitz-Heilstätten (temporary diversion of Michendorf service until 10 December 2016) 13 December
209.24 Berlin Grünau – Berlin-Schöneweide – Berlin Ostkreuz – Berlin Lichtenberg 13 December
230.5 Görlitz – Zgorzelec (Poland) 13 December
580 Erfurt-Linderbach – Gröbers [- Leipzig] / Halle-Ammendorf 13 December
720 Konstanz – Kreuzlingen Hafen (Switzerland) 13 December
858 Selb-Plößberg – Aš (Czech Republic) 13 December
2014
247 Dolni Poustevna ČD - Sebnitz 5 July
305 Uelzen W750 - Uelzen W23 (Veerßer Kurve) 15 April
482 Alsdorf Poststraße - Eschweiler-St.Jöris 15 June
2013
133 Kiel Hbf - Kiel Schulen am Langsee (one morning school train only) 30 August
459 Marienheide – Meinerzhagen 15 December
485 Lindern – Heinsberg (Rheinl.) 15 December
501 Leipzig Nord/Leipzig-Gohlis – Leipzig Hbf (tief) – Leipzig-Stötteritz/Leipzig-Connewitz 15 December
501.1 Leipzig Stötteritz – Leipzig Engelsdorf 15 December
710.41 Heilbronn Harmonie - Neckarsulm 15 December
976 [Ulm -] Senden - Weißenhorn 15 December

Closures

Hamburg Altona is scheduled to close in 2023 with a replacement main line through station being built roughly on the site of the current Diebsteich S-Bahn station.

The current S-Bahn line between Frankfurt am Main Stadion and Frankfurt am Main Flughafen Regionalbahnhof is to be re-routed via a new station at Gateway Gardens, which is a commercial development of the former US military part of the airport. Opening of the new line and closure of the original route is expected in December 2019.

The Zwönitztalbahn between Chemnitz and Aue (Sachs.) (KBS524) will close completely on 15th September 2018 (postponed from 29 June) for conversion to tram-train service under the "Chemnitzer Modell" Stage 2, to be introduced in December 2019. Initial plans were to retain only the stretch from Chemnitz as far as Thalheim, but current plans envisage the conversion and reopening of the full line.

The Teckelfahrten tourist operation from Hagen to Ennepetal did not resume in 2017. See [1].

The Wachtl-Bahn tourist operation did not resume in 2017 as it did not pass an official inspection. See Wachtl-Bahn Fahrplan. The line is now expected to close.

A 4.7 km section of the Gera - Weischlitz line between Abzw. Gera Debschwitz and Wolfsgefarth closed on 24 October 2016 owing to the poor condition of a viaduct at Liebschwitz. It was replaced by a short link to the Gera - Saalfeld line near Wolfsgefarth.

The line between Ihrhove and Nieuweschans closed after a ship hit and destroyed the main span of the bridge over the River Ems on 3 December 2015. DB is reconstructing the bridge, but the line is not expected to re-open until 2024. The train service on the German section west of the bridge, between Nieuweschans and Weener, resumed on 30 October 2016.

The preserved service on the Bremen-Thedinghausener Eisenbahn ("Pingelheini") between Bremen-Kirchhuchting and Leeste (b. Bremen) ceased at the end of the 2015 season. Services still operate between Leeste and Thedinghausen. It is planned to convert the Bremen - Leeste line between Moordeich and Leeste to an extension of Bremen tram route no. 8, although local opposition to the tram service has delayed the project indefinitely. If the tramway goes ahead, the Pingelheini hopes to resume service to Bremen, sharing the track with the trams.

Land Thüringen intends to review services on the following lines which have fewer than 500 passengers per weekday:

326 Nordhausen - Ifeld
546 (part) Weida - Zeulenroda unt. Bf
555 (part) Saalfeld (Saale) - Poßneck ob. Bf
557 Hockeroda - Blankenstein (Saale)
559 Orlamünde - Poßneck unt. Bf
562 Rottenbach - Katzhütte
564 Sonneberg (Thür) - Neuhaus am Rennweg
569 Grimmenthal - Eisfeld - Sonneberg (Thür)
573 Wernshausen - Zella-Mehlis
579 Weimar - Kranichfeld
594 Sömmerda - Großheringen [Buttstädt to Großheringen closed in December 2017]
606 Fröttstädt - Friedrichroda (section Waltershausen to Friedrichroda only)

The following line closed on 10 December 2017:

594 (part) Buttstädt - Großheringen

The following line closed on 25 September 2016:

225 Brieske - Hosena Closed after temporary diversion of Ruhland - Hosena services for engineering work ended.

The following line closed on 31 July 2016:

209.70 Pritzwalk West - Putlitz

The following lines closed on 13 December 2015:

209.23 (part) Ferch-Lienewitz – Seddin Trains temporarily diverted to Beelitz-Heilstätten until December 2016
506 (part) Döbeln Hbf – Roßwein – Nossen – Meißen Triebischtal

The following line closed on 26 September 2015:

R61 [WEG] Hemmingen – Heimerdingen – Weissach Hemmingen – Heimerdingen is a temporary but seemingly long-term closure owing to engineering work.

The following line closed to regular services on 12 April 2015:

337 Klostermansfeld - Wippra However a summer weekend service operates

The following line closed on 1 April 2015:

172 (part) Mecklenburgische Südbahn: Parchim - Inselstadt Malchow

The following line closed on 1 March 2015:

230 Görlitz - Zgorzelec (Poland) The Dresden - Wrocław service was withdrawn owing to a reduction in funding for Przewozy Regionalne. Services were reintroduced from 13 December 2015.

The following line closed on 31 December 2014:

218 Pratau – Bad Schmiedeberg Kurzentrum However a summer weekend service operates

The Paris - Hamburg/Berlin/München overnight service was withdrawn at the December 2014 timetable change.

The following lines closed on 14 December 2014:

517 Cranzahl – Vejprty (Czech Republic) However a summer weekend service operates
588 Merseburg – Schafstädt

The København - Basel/Amsterdam/Praha overnight service was withdrawn on 1 November 2014

The following line closed on 15 December 2013:

519 Pockau-Lengefeld – Marienberg (Sachs.)

Older Changes

For details of older changes see Germany - Older General Information.

Special notes

DB trains are divided into a number of distinct categories, thus:

  • S (S-Bahn): Regular interval local trains in urban areas, generally using segregated tracks
  • RB (Regionalbahn): Basic local services.
  • RE (RegionalExpress): Regular interval local or semi-fast trains calling at fewer stations than RB services.
  • IRE (Inter-RegionalExpress): Long distance semi-fast trains.
  • IC (InterCity): Long distance expresses, making limited stops.
  • EC (EuroCity): Similar to IC, but for international journeys.
  • RJ (Railjet): High speed Austrian Railways trains on the München – Wien - Budapest route.
  • ICE (InterCity Express) & ICE Sprinter: High speed, long distance electric trains worked with special rolling stock. Special fares are payable on these trains, and if purchasing a ticket for a route on which ICE trains, operate it is important to specify which type of train it is intended to use. It is usually possible to make a slower but cheaper journey by IC or RE service.
  • THA (Thalys): High speed trains on the Köln - Brussels - Paris route, managed by the French and Belgian railways.
  • EN (Euronight): With the withdrawal of DB from sleeper services in 2016, the remaining sleeper trains, some of which are ex-DB CNL (CityNightLine) services, are operated by ÖBB (Austrian Railways) with an EN prefix but are branded as "Nightjet".
  • D-Zug: This designation is derived from Durchgang, the German for corridor. Appropriate trains were designated D-Züge when corridor coaches were first introduced, and the term remained in use until largely replaced by IC and IR. It is now hardly used by DB.

A few services operate only during school term time, or are extensively altered during school holidays. The dates of holidays vary from Land to Land.

Train running can be observed on Zugfinder which displays the position of trains along each line.

A brief Guide to German railway terminology is available.

See also