Trains in Germany

More of an after-action report. Perhaps this is all a matter of record on this or related sites. Just a heads-up for anyone starting out. We just got back from two weeks in Germany, mostly using trains to get around. Anyone using trains in Germany (and possibly other countries) should be VERY careful to check on the ground in real time. My own web search, as well as well-meaning advice from hotel concierges, etc., turned up lots of inaccurate information as to times, frequencies, platforms, etc. On further inquiry I learned that the June floods are still having their impacts: washed out tracks still under repairs, non-stop ICE's actually making stops along the way, etc. Word to the wise: CHECK AND RECHECK all information, confirming not only by referring to printed posters at the stations, but also the ACTUAL, REAL-TIME LIGHTED SIGNS, which should be the most current and most reliable. Despite all, the trains are still, far and away the best way to get around. Buses are a close second. In Berlin, for example, wonderful double-deckers for regular routes (don't need the sight-seeing buses all the time), etc., etc. Good luck, bon chance, etc...

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2378 posts

Jack, there was some major rescheduling of trains. However, this was and still is conveyed on DB website.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
13034 posts

This illustrates a good reason to have with you a netbook, pad, smart phone - something with internet capability, so you can access the Bahn website. Alternatively, I think the ticket machines at the train stations can also show that information, for any train or station.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
325 posts

I just returned and had the DB app on my phone. That was the most reliable information. Much more reliable than the printed schedules and sometimes more accurate than the monitors in the terminal.

Posted by Hugh
Duluth, Minnesota, USA
50 posts

We had a similar experience a couple weeks ago. We traveled from Paris to Fussen, then to Rothenburg, then to Bacharach, then to Bruges, then to Amsterdam on trains over a week and a half. We did not have a single train in Germany that ran on time. We were running through stations to catch connecting trains and missed one entirely. We had one train that was so far behind schedule (75 minutes) that they dropped off the entire trainload of passengers at a station short of our ultimate desitination, stating tht they needed to make a different run, and left it up to everyone to figure out how to get to their final destination. We had one train with 23 cars and not one working bathroom on the train (a two hour trip). This was our first experience with German train travel and it left me thinking that the German train system was an absolute disgrace. Trains ran fine in every other country. Deutsche Bahn left a lot to be desired. Travel with several backup plans figured out in advance if you are traveling with DB.

Posted by Jack
Naples, FL, US
5 posts

Your trip was earlier than ours, hence closer in time to the flooding events. While we found some issues, they were not so extreme as what you have described. Would have been quite an awful introduction for our 8 and 13 y-o granddaughters!

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2690 posts

Charles is right about the DB app. What happened to me twice was that I was on a train that was on time but all of a sudden the app buzzed and told me we wouldn't arrive at my station of destination until 30 minutes behind schedule - and that was when the train was still on time. So I asked the conductor about it and they didn't know. 15 minutes later, however, they must have learned about it themselves and they made an announcement over the speakers that due to whatever reason we would have to take a detour and from now on be 30 mins behind schedule...