Is Deutsche Bahn's punctuality a myth ?Back to Forum
25 per cent of Deutsche Bahn’s long distance trains were late during last month (March),
I know that UK rail travellers regularly hold up Germany’s DB as an example of how a railway system out to be run but is that still the case ?
It’s reported that DB will set up a task force to improve matters.29 Apr 2018
German Railways is not as punctual as we are let to believe. Delays are quite common all year round. And we are not talking about 5 minutes or so, but more like 30 minutes to an hour on real long distances. For punctuality in running trains you should look at the Swiss or, to a slightly lesser extent, the Dutch. Although the latter is, due to the short distances, more of an enhanced metro system.29 Apr 2018
Yes, I can agree with this having been on a number of delayed DB long distance trains.
Looking in the UK, Virgin Trains West Coast have a PPM of 84% for the last 12 months (within 10 mins).30 Apr 2018
Agree with Edski777 that Swiss Rail has the best punctuality.
DB Long distance trains are late by 15-20 minutes late sometimes but considering the distance covered and time allocated, I would consider it is not a big deal. For my last few trip, noted that 250kmph speed is not maintained at some stretches – could be some track related issues.
British train time table has slack due to much lower average speed, so it is easy to maintain time.1 May 2018
Thanks for the comments.
ICE punctuality may be no great deal if travelling point-to-point. But many journeys involve a transfer and in some cases DB allows just a few mins to complete it.
This morning I checked a sample journey from Cologne to Nuremburg departing the former at 1253hrs.
Three en route transfers would be necessary at Mainz (10 mins), Aschafenburg (4 mins) and Wurzburg (9 mins).
None of these would have been possible because, according to bahn.de , that 1253hrs departure from Cologne was running about 30 mins late today.1 May 2018
I would need some convincing of the accuracy of that last statement from Inquisitive.
I had always understood that ICEs made multiple stops, reducing their average speed to below that of the British HSTs?
I would be interested to see evidence one way or the other.3 May 2018
Today DB has admitted that owing to cancellations and train failure some 140,000 trains never reached their intended destination in 2017. That’s a rise of 20,000 on the figure for 2016.7 May 2018
Today DB has admitted that owing to cancellations and train failure some 140,000 trains never reached their intended destination in 2017. That’s a rise of 20,000 on the figure for 2016.
What amazes me with that statistic is that equates to an average 383 trains a day. That’s incredibly bad!9 May 2018
Actually Swiss trains are not always that punctual. And if taking the train that originates in Milan going to Zurich, I can attest to that.
Second link is in German.9 May 2018
Mrs.LP boards a Swiss train at Zurich with junior, when the doors close leaving him outside and no way to open the door! There was a fault with all the doors and they could not get them open. Finally succeeded in opening the rear door only, but train cancelled and they now have to wait an hour for the next one!!!10 May 2018
Interesting piece in Spiegel on why Germany’s high-speed trains don’t run as fast as those in France.13 May 2018
An extract from something I wrote years ago about a trip to Berlin just after the fall of the wall :
We left Berlin (………..) the railway station, resplendent with ‘Deutsche Reichsbahn’ insignia, to purchase tickets for our escape from this strange land metamorphosing from years of the deadly grip of communism.
Two tickets for a domestic journey in almost any other country would have been a three minute transaction in which one person would have given us information, issued tickets, made reservations, and taken our money. Here, under communist job protection, the work of one person was performed by twelve.
It all began with a woman who drew a numbered ticket from a machine, explained that this represented our turn, the number of which would be held up by a man with a stack of cardboard numbers. When our turn came, she told me, we could go to the ‘Auskunft und Fahrplan’ window to ask the times of the trains to our destination. I told her we already knew which train we wanted. She glared at me and walked off. As our number came up I went directly to the ‘Reservation’ window. My arm was almost wrenched from its socket (I am sure this is how the East German weighlifters trained for the Olympics) as she dragged me to the ‘Auskunft’ window, to obtain information that I already had. This exercise in futility took several minutes, after which I was given another numbered ticket for my turn at the ‘reservation’ window. The process was repeated for each successive part of the process. There was a ticket window, at which you presented the reservation slip, a payment window at which you presented the slip confirming that the ticket had been issued, a cashier’s window where you paid, with an adjacent window where another clerk issued a receipt, and the grand finale was going back to the reservation and ticket windows with the receipt, in order to collect the prize of the ticket and reservation. By the time the process was completed, we would have had about three seconds to catch the train.
As things turned out, the train was late, which meant that by the time we got to Hanover, where we had to change for Frankfurt, we would have missed our connection had that not also been fortuitously late. We tried to board it, along with a number of passengers from other delayed trains. This caused chaos, and the Germans, those masters at efficiency and punctuality, had no idea how to handle this most unusual situation. Many cross words were exchanged, threats of ‘supplementary charges’ were made, and pretending to speak no German was ineffective as the train conductors all spoke perfect English13 May 2018