I know this is very very early in the pre-planning stage. Traveling dreams are good right now. If my sister-in-law wants to go to Europe with me in Fall 2021 (she's considering the idea), part of my suggestion to her is Paris to Munich. Looking at Rome2Rio it's a 5 1/2 hour train ride. But what concerns me is all trains transfer in Stuttgart with a 10 minute window. Is this enough time for two "senior" ladies to de-train, get to the platform and board for the next leg? We'd have carry-on size luggage with tote only so big suitcases are not the issue.
Technically yes. You need to be ready to exit the train when it stops along with the other hoard of people getting off. You might see if the you can determine the next platform before you board in Paris. Personally if you could get a long transfer time I would do so. Or ask the conductor when he checks you ticket if he has the information for the next platform. Then move briskly.
We may be doing the opposite trip, Munich to Paris in August. I’ve been trying to read up on the track situation in Stuttgart with the construction they've been undergoing. I think we will try to buy tickets for a longer connection time when (if) we buy tickets this spring for our possibly cancelled summer trip.
EDIT: for long distance or ICE trains I’d found statements like this “Disruption to passengers using Stuttgart Hbf during the construction work is being minimised, but the tracks/gleis that the long distance trains depart from, have been moved back from the main concourse, so allow additional time to catch a train.“
The looooong term building project is called Stuttgart 21 but they aren’t optimistic for it actually opening in ‘21.
As mentioned by Frank, this is not an aircraft. You do not have to remain seated until the train comes to a stop in the station - in fact, that will almost assure that you will not make the connection. Once the train stops and the doors open, passenger will come in and flood the aisle, making it impossible to get off. As you come into the station, gather up your luggage and proceed the the door, ready to get off when the doors open.
It will really help to know the platform number of your connecting train. At least know the number and time of the connecting train. If you don't already know the platform, look for the mustard colored schedule in a case on the platform. It is probably accurate. You should study the schedule at your departing trains station so you are familiar with how they work.
You will probably have to change platforms. Most of the people getting off will be going to the closest stairs to the connecting tunnel; follow the herd. Once inside the tunnel, find your new platform. There are large number high on the wall indicating the platform.
I don't know where you are finding information reflecting short transfers in Stuttgart , but looking on Bahn ( DE ) , I see numerous trains with transfers at other calling points , Strasbourg being one . Also , if you go to the Bahn site , pick a train and hit the drop down menu for trip details ( show details , in left hand column ) , you will see options for adjusting transfer times , if you need more time .
Our Generation X selves have done that connection in the other direction along with half the people on our train. I'd categorize it as doable but with a decent amount of stress.
It makes sense to pay extra for a flexible ticket, at least for the Stuttgart – Munich train. Plan optimistically, but if you miss your connection, you'll be able to hop on another train within two hours. Discount tickets allow this if the missed connection is DB's fault, but it can turn into a discussion with the conductor, not worth the trouble when you are on vacation.
In first class, there will be far fewer people and you'll be more likely to be near the head of the arriving train and the tail of the departing train, for a faster walk. During the construction project, the long-distance portion of Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof remains a "Kopfbahnhof" and there are no mid-platform cross-passages, so everyone has to walk to the head (from the perspective of an arriving train) of the platform.
Beware, some trains are made up of two separate sections, between which you cannot cross. Even in first class, you could end up at the very middle of your arriving or departing train, making for a longer walk. Under irregular operating conditions (pretty frequent in January and February of this year), first class can also end up at the tail of an arriving train or the head of a departing one, making for a very long walk.
You can't choose specific sections, cars or seats on trains departing from France, just class and seat type, but you can on German trains. Use the DB Navigator app to see the sequence of cars, choose a car, and choose your seat within it. An easily identifiable compartment marks the head (or tail!) of an ICE train, and if the train has two separate sections, you'll notice that the first class car numbers jump by 10. If you buy your German train ticket through a channel that doesn't give you a choice of seats and you are worried about the car to which you've been assigned, you can make a separate, reservation-only booking in the car of your choice at any time in DB Navigator, for about €6 per person.
Set up your journey in the DB Streckenagent app and use on-board WiFi to monitor your connection. The app will give you updated times, platform numbers and car sequences for both the arriving and departing trains. Start checking after you cross the Franco-German border, because some alternative trains to Munich might leave from Karlsruhe rather than Stuttgart. DB Streckenagent also shows interior maps for major stations like Stuttgart. You'll be better-informed than many German passengers!
When people talk about the German Rail app, they mean DB Navigator, which lets you view schedules, buy tickets and make reservations. DB Streckenagent is a newer, separate app, offered as part of DB's effort to reduce staff. It's intended to provide updates during your trip, and it works pretty well. (There's also a third DB app, DB Bauarbeiten, for keeping track of construction-related schedule changes.)
Thank you all for your help.
Cognac, thank you for detailing the steps we need to take, both ticketing and on the train. Your step-by-step advise is very helpful.
I think you are turning this into a much larger problem than it is. Changing trains is not like changing planes. And if you buy tickets from DB the platforms used will be printed on the ticket (you should always double check it though). But given the construction works at Stuttgart Hbf, it is hard to give advice because we can't tell what the station will look like next year. Also, take any station specific advice with a grain of salt for that reason.
Or, just take a direct train and you won't have to worry about changing train.
But what concerns me is all trains transfer in Stuttgart with a 10 minute window. Is this enough time for two "senior" ladies to de-train, get to the platform and board for the next leg?
There is no reason to worry about that. If your incoming train is late you can always hop on the next one, even with a non-flexible ticket; I'm doing that often (there is at least one ICE per hour from Stuttgart to Munich). So, no need to buy an expensive flexible ticket or to factor in more transfer time. Nor don't you have to line up at the DB information desk, just board your train to Munich, the conductor will know that your incoming train was late. You should download the DB app so that you can look up alternative trains, platform #, and change your seat reservation as soon as the train has crossed the border and DB internet is available. Still, I'd double check with the DB conductor.
There is currently a direct Paris-Munich train that departs around 4 p.m. and by the time you travel there could be more direct options on the schedule.
Have you ever noticed that connections on the ground, by train or in the air between Paris and Munich are pretty terrible for these two very large cities. The budget airlines seldom even give you any direct flights. I attribute difficulties getting between these cities to politics.
I have driven between the cities, however the distances are greater than I realized. And those French toll roads are expensive.
If I cannot afford to fly from Point A to Point B, I'd be looking for an alternative city that is much easier to get to. The budget airlines fly out of Paris to just about anywhere cheap--except Munich--in most times.
Have you considered tabling your trip plans until the world gets back to normal? It's just wasted time and effort now to plan for anything.