There was much optimism last June when Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB) announced that Berlin and Munich would be brought closer together.
The faster schedules were to be made possible by the opening of new sections of high-speed track would mean that DB’s ICE trains would be able to run at their maximum speed thereby reducing the journey to as little as three hours and 55 minutes (a saving of over two hours on the previous best timings).
But things have not gone according to plan – for the time being at least.
Media reports in Germany talk of numerous technical problems which have resulted in delays, re-routings and cancellations.
At first it was unclear what the problem was. But now it appears the technical issues are down to the advanced signalling system manufactured by Alstom.
The system in question is known as ETCS (European Train Control system).
It is also reported that DB’s management may also be partly to blame with its unclear responsibilities and DB’s tendency to hire too many consultants.
But that claim was rebuffed by Birgit Bohle, chairwoman of DB Fernverkehr (DB’s long distance division).
DB hopes that its schedules will be more robust by this coming weekend.
However readers intending to sample the new line in the next few days should be alert for possible issues.