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Need Opinion From Experienced DB Bahn Train User In Germany

I have never used the German train system - will do so for 1st time next month on my 1st trip to Germany (after a RS Tour).
My question below will reveal my lack of knowledge with trains - so please overlook my ignorance and help me understand.
(my only train experience was in Italy - going from Florence to Rome - and there were many platforms for many trains).
I'm traveling by myself, and just want to be sure of what I'm doing.

On a Sparpriese (deep discounted fare in advance) bought on-line on DB Bahn site:
A train from Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Fussen shows the 4 connections below:
0. Rothenburg ob der Tauber TO Steinach(b Rothenburg ob der Tauber).
1. Steinach(b Rothenburg ob der Tauber) TO Treuchlingen.
2. Treuchlingen TO Augsburg.
3. Augsburg TO Buchloe.
4. Buchloe TO Fussen.

Connections 1 thru 4 show only 4 and 5 minutes per stop to get off 1 train and get on the next train.
1 Is such a tight schedule typical of the German train system - especially when the connections are in smaller towns?
2. If I miss a connection, that likely means I miss all other connections - thus lose the entire ticket value - because the Sparpreise ticket is good only for 1 specific train at 1 specific departure time (as I understand it).
3. Maybe in a small town connection, there is only 1 track - so no problem, just get off, stand in place until the next train pulls in, and step aboard.

Any insight anyone can give will be appreciated.
Thanks ---- Jim Parks, Colorado.

Posted by
1503 posts

I think if the DB website is showing those connections it believes you will be able to make them. We have travelled extensively by train in Germany and had several short connections - 4 minutes is certainly short, but you are correct in that the smaller towns have very small stations and frequently it's a matter of getting off of a train and walking straight across a platform to the next train. The DB website does usually say what the arriving platform and departing platforms are. When I looked up your route it looks like all of the short connections are only 1 or 2 tracks away - 1 track away usually means 10 steps at most. If it is 3 or more tracks away you will most likely have to go down a stairway over and up again, but should be able to do it easily in 4 minutes as long as you don't have any mobility issues. I'm not sure what happens if you miss your connection. Sorry. I'm sure Lee will chime in:)

Posted by
19170 posts

First of all, don't bother with the Savings Fare ticket - not for this connection. In fact, you almost can't get one for this connection. A Saving Fare tickets must include a leg on a train of the Bahn (ICE, IC, EC) and I only see one such connection on this route, and it doesn't save any time. Just use regional trains (RE and RB) and a Bayern-Ticket. Then there is no concern about transfer time. If you miss a connection, just wait for the next train.

The connections you mentioned, Rothenburg to Steinach to Trechtlingen to Augsburg to Buchloe to Füssen don't include a Bahn train, so there are no Savings Fare tickets available for them. The one connection using an IC and a Savings Fare ticket has connections of 36 minutes in Steinach and 24 minutes in Buchloe, so changing trains would not be a problem.

In general, though, they expect you to make the connection. Be at the end of the car, ready to get off, when the train stops. Stay with the herd. The conductor of the second train knows when the first train comes in and how long it will take people to get to the next platform. He is standing there watching, and will not let the train leave if people at getting on.

With a Savings Fare ticket, if you miss a connection due to a fault of the Bahn, like a delayed train, they will put you on the next available train. You won't loose the ticket.

Posted by
20460 posts

I am trying to figure out exactly what time and date you are going. Every 4 connection itinerary I look at shows about 47 minutes in Augsburg. The other thing I wonder is a if a Sparpreis ticket is even offered on this route. The Savings Fare column is for a Bayern Ticket of 23 euro for one person. All of the trains are regional trains. The Bayern Ticket can be bought up to one minute before departure and is good until 3 am the next day. You just have to travel after 9 am on week days. Its good the whole day on weekends.
Now specifics on the line, the train between Rothenburg and Steinach just runs back and forth between the 2 stations all day long. It is timed to connect to the train to Treuchtlingen each and every time, and they figure 3 to 4 minutes is all the time in the world. Remember, it is not an airplane. There are 2 doors on each car and nothing says you can't get up and move around before the train stops. There is no boarding queue to get on the connecting train, nobody checking your ticket. You just walk over with your bags and jump on the train.
The train you get on in Steinach terminates in Treuchtlingen. The train you get on in Treuchtlingen originates in Treuchtlingen. They can hold these trains for a short time if the connection is running late.
Augsburg is a largish station and you should have plenty of time there.
So, if you travel on a Bayern ticket and you miss a connection, you just wait for the next train, often one hour later.
I am not saying German trains never run late, things happen. But they've been doing this for a while and have gotten pretty good at it.

Posted by
1 posts

It looks like all the places you want to visit are in Bavaria. In this case the Bayern Ticket might be the cheaper alternative. It allows travelling on all RE/RB/ALX trains throughout Bavaria from 9 am onwards. With 23 euros plus another 4 for each additional person it's probably a bit cheaper. However IC, EC or ICE trains are not included, but you won't need either of them on your itinerary anyway. You don't have to book the ticket in advance, it's availably from the vending machines on the stations but it can also be booked online on the same day. Futher info on the Bayer ticket here.

For the Sparpreis ticket: If you miss a connection due to delay of another train, just talk to an official at the ticket counter or on the train. Usually they put a stamp on your ticket that cancels the tie of the ticket to a specific train. However they only do that if it's not you're fault that you missed the train. So show up in time at the station.

Posted by
5057 posts

We've always had enough time to make connections in small towns / cities using the German rail system. On one occasion the train from Steinach to Rothenburg actually waited for an incoming train to arrive. Not sure if it works in the opposite direction. TC

Posted by
19170 posts

In the case of the train from Steinach to Rothenburg waiting, just about the only passengers from Steinach to Rothenburg are from the connecting train, so why leave Steinach with an empty train.

Not sure about the other way, but it is a short trip (14 min, 2 stops) from Rothenburg, and the train originates there, so it is unlikely to be very late, if at all.

Actually, it is not unusual for German trains to wait for connecting trains (Or even buses. I've seen that happen.). Even if they don't wait, on many lines, there will be a train an hour after the earlier one, less than an hour's wait if you are getting in late, much less if you are very late.

Posted by
19170 posts

Here is the station layout for Treuchtlingen. The train from Steinach arrives on track 7 and the train to Augsburg leaves on track 6. Those tracks share a platform. You just walk across the platform. Four minutes is plenty of time if you are ready to get off when the train arrives.

Same thing in Buchloe; cross platform change.

Posted by
635 posts

Here is the station layout for Buchloe, and here is a photo I took there during a connection just a couple of weeks ago. Connections are quick and easy.

By the way, as mentioned above, you can only use the Bayern-Ticket after 09:00 on weekdays; but you don't need to wait until 09:00 on weekends and holidays.

Posted by
19170 posts

"you can only use the Bayern-Ticket after 09:00 on weekdays"

Yes, but if the train leaves your station before 9, you can board it there if you purchase a ticket from that station to the station the train leaves after 9.