Deutsche Bahn’s punctuality continues to decline

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  • AMcWhirter

    Germany’s national rail operator once had a first class reputation for timekeeping.

    A few years ago I reported on Forum that its ICE punctuality (ICEs are DB’s flagship trains for which higher fares are charged) was around 70 per cent.

    That is bad enough but the latest report says that punctuality for DB’s ICEs and IC (Intercity) services fell last month to just 52 per cent.

    That must be a concern for DB and Lufthansa (plus other airlines) who depend on DB for their rail-air customers.

    If trains are delayed travellers could miss their flights and therefore the airlines incur extra costs (assuming the rail ticket is linked to the flight booking).

    Indeed DB is so important to rail-air that it acquired Star Alliance membership.

    Airlines prefer to control their ‘feed’ passengers and now you can understand why.

    Deutsche Bahn to join Star Alliance on August 1


    Having experienced DB’s extensive delays over the summer, this is clearly a problem for LH and connections at Frankfurt!!

    As some trains can be through booked with LH code shares onto flights with LH, where does the airline stand if there is a train delay and, as a result, a missed flight connection. Would LH be liable under EC261?


    Hello TominScotland,

    Yes the Star carriers are very much involved with DB and Frankfurt with rail-air. (But not at Munich seeing as the Bavarian airport has no mainline link – only S-Bahn).

    Many other airlines, besides Lufthansa Group, operate rail-air with DB to Frankfurt airport.

    I don’t know the EU261 situation, for those travellers having through ticketed itineraries (with DB and the airline). Maybe a reader is able to advise ?

    But if it a through rail-air booking (code-shared) then I would have thought an airline would protect the traveller in the same way as if it were an airline connection.


    Previously I had reported on the problems with DB’s high-tech ICE trains when operating in Belgium.

    This ICE variant has difficulties coping with Belgian rail infrasture.

    Matters had settled down recently but last night an ICE failed in Belgium.

    The ICE and its 300 passengers were stranded in a tunnel for hours, reports Belgian media.


    Uk performance Oct/Nov 2023 – GWR cancelled fewer than 3% of services and completed more than 95% arrival within 15 minutes of schedule. Not too shabby vs DB.


    I recently came back from a long weekend in Dusseldorf with my wife, she flew back to UK Monday, I took an ICE to Stuttgart for work.

    I was under the impression that nothing could be worse than a British train company…… I’m now looking at the UK TOC in a new (positive) light. On the Sunday, the trains from Dusseldorf to Cologne (and back) were all at least 35 mins late and RAMMED. My ICE train to Stuttgart Monday morning was around about 23 mins late, getting in – so my colleagues who I was due to meet at the airport had to wait around around 45 mins for me at the car hire depo (waiting for the next connection etc). I’ll concede that the actual trains were much better than a UK train, but I don’t think I’ll bother again#

    In the UK, delay repay kicks in at 15 mins (with east midlands railways at least). With DB, only after 120 mins they will consider it!

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