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German trains

Just coming to an end of a 30 European trip. The Swiss trains were punctual and reliable.
100% of the trains in Germany were significantly late, cancelled or only went part of the way that was listed on the departure board. If you are traveling by train don’t believe that you will be able to make your transfers, take an earlier train or check for alternative routes if, and when your train is delayed

Posted by
5958 posts

"100% of the trains" THAT YOU USED were all that, correct?

So I think what would be more helpful to others are some specifics. How many train trips, which routes, etc. did your trip involve? Maybe your routes are in fact habitually bad news; there are a few of those routes that underperform at certain times.

Or maybe there was some seasonal event that caused these problems temporarily. Or maybe, like many track segments right now, construction was taking place when you were there.

The German Railways system in fact has an on-time-arrival performance in recent history that lies at around 95% for all trains.

High-speed trains (IC, ICE, etc.) perform less impressively. But they still are on time around 75% of the time or better and of course are typically way faster in the first place than regional and local trains.

I would base predictions about future performance on historical performance numbers, not on one person's anecdotal experience.

Posted by
949 posts

The last time I was in Germany 100% of my trains were on time. They were also very cost effective compared with Swiss trains.

Posted by
2071 posts

Regarding trains going only part way - some trains have only some of the cars going all the way. Sometimes it is not clear. My last trip from Cologne south, some cars stopped at Remagen. I don’t think that there were signs on the coaches to indicated this. There was an announcement that I barely hear and at the Remagen stop it became apparent that many were getting off my coach and into anothetr.

50+ years ago I was going Munich to Salzburg and fortunately the conductor told us were were getting in a coach that was not going tomSalzburg but was splitting off to somewhere else. Long walk with luggage to get to the right coach.

Posted by
3763 posts

We need specifics if the point of this thread is to advise or warn those of us traveling to Germany.

100% of the trains — what does “significantly late” mean? Over 1 hour? Over 3 hours?

Which train routes specifically? What day or days of the week? At what time?

ICE, IC, RE trains?

Were announcements of both cancellations and delays made in German only?

Posted by
3312 posts

That's unusual - when I was in Germany for 30 days in May, I would say that 90-95% of the trains were on time.

Posted by
32 posts

In answer to request for details, here are some details from end May.
May 20, 2022:
Brussels-Frankfurt Fernbahnhof - ICE 15 no problems
Frankfurt Fernb-Passau (end destination train was Vienna) - ICE 29 - more than 1 hour delay, almost missed train because of last minute track change (was opposite track on same platform, and I interpreted correctly sudden move of lots of people).
Announcements were made in German and English, but not easy to understand.

May 27, 2022:
Got email message (May 24 or 25 - cannot check now because am traveling) that return trip of May 27 had to be modified because of train cancellation. I have a relative in Passau and we went to the railway station: Bahn computer was down and nobody knew when it would come on line again. Later in the day we managed to change my ticket. Passau-Frankfurt Fernb was replaced with Passau-Nuernberg and Nuernberg-Frankfurt. Had also to change timing of return, because Nuernberg-Frankfurt to get planned connection to Brussels was fully booked.
Nuernberg-Frankfurt train was late but less than 15 minutes and connection time was about 25 min. Other trains on time.

On a previous visit to Passau, in 2013, missed connection in Frankfurt because train Brussels-Frankfurt had technical problems. Other visit to Passau, in 2018, for important family event, train Brussels-Frankfurt was cancelled and we did not receive e-mail notification before leaving home. We had to come back home and go by car to be in time for event.
Am in Passau right now, but came by car this time!

Am going to Italy from here, and for the first time in 15 years I will take trains in Italy (Ferrara-Milano, Ferrara-Venezia and maybe Ferrara-Brindisi). It will be an interesting comparison.

Posted by
13820 posts

When standing on the platform in Germany waiting for your train, one should always listen to the announcements on the arrival and delays of trains, pertaining to you and/or others. I listen to all regardless if they affect me or not. There have been times, though super rare, that I did wait for one hour or a bit more for my train, as did else everyone waiting with me.

This incident was in Hamburg Hbf, and as the delay became longer and longer, you could see people becoming more and more exasperated. The final wait time was 75 mins, most likely the longest I've ever waited.

Once I heard the train departed from Hamburg-Altona, I knew we were in business. I had decided to board in Hamburg Hbf instead of going to Hamburg-Altona as my hotel was only across the street from the Hbf.