Careful around DB (Deutsche Bahn)

Disco

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Sep 21, 2013
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We've used DB in the past and it's been a great way to travel. However, it currently doesn't seem to be working well. Had 1st class with seating booked from Leipzig to Hamburg, train goes via Berlin. Went well to Berlin and then informed by announcement, in Deutsch on the train, the Berlin to Hamburg line had been closed. Had to deviate via Hannover which almost doubled travel time. Train terminated at a Hamburg suburban station where we had to get off and catch a commuter train into the city. All announced in Deutsch only. Train then left for Stuttgart, no checks on anyone left on board. Tour of Germany for the price of a one-way ticket anyone?
 
That mirrors what others have expressed in their trip reports over the past year.

A bit worrying for me, who will be relying on DB to get around this Christmas (first time ever relying on trains ....)
 
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A bit worrying for me, who will be relying on DB to get around this Christmas (first time ever relying on trains ....)
There’s always an element of risk associated with train travel in some European countries (for that manner as many have attested to airline travel). Yesterday, there was meant to be a “scheduled “ national train strike in Italy, which included companies Trenitalia and Trenord. The strike was cancelled at the 11th hour , as the president apparently intervened so that it would not affect the Italian F1 event at Imola.
 
Lots of hassles for you. This pretty much mirrors our experiences last November/December. The claim is that it will all be fixed by 2025-ish but I am unconvinced.
 
We've used DB in the past and it's been a great way to travel. However, it currently doesn't seem to be working well. Had 1st class with seating booked from Leipzig to Hamburg, train goes via Berlin. Went well to Berlin and then informed by announcement, in Deutsch on the train, the Berlin to Hamburg line had been closed. Had to deviate via Hannover which almost doubled travel time. Train terminated at a Hamburg suburban station where we had to get off and catch a commuter train into the city. All announced in Deutsch only. Train then left for Stuttgart, no checks on anyone left on board. Tour of Germany for the price of a one-way ticket anyone?
Not ideal but at least you kept moving. A lot of places you'd get kicked off and good luck finding the replacement bus, if there is one, in a foreign country...
 
Hints from a German living in Melbourne: Don't rely too much on DB, such as long distance trains to the airport right before departure, and avoid tight connections when you need to change trains. Expect the unexpected and always bring some food and drinks.

Fun fact about their statistics: Only 64% of the long distance trains are on time, but trains that are delayed by less than 6 min are considered to be on time, and cancelled trains do not count into the statistics.

Don't get me wrong: It is a great opportunity to get around whenever I am home for a visit I take the trains, but it hasn't been going well the past years and it won't change in the near future due to lack of investment into the infrastructure and lots of maintenance and construction going on.
 
Those sudden changes and disruptions are annoying and can mess up well-made plans. I'd assume the local businesses and long-distance commuters would already be making noise about these issues given they've been prevalent for quite some time and the high reliance on trains in Germany.

Luckily, train networks in many other European countries work very nicely. Many of them also have announcements in English, too. Hopefully you get smoother runs on rail on your future moves between locations.
 
That mirrors what others have expressed in their trip reports over the past year.

A bit worrying for me, who will be relying on DB to get around this Christmas (first time ever relying on trains ....)
Yes, as others have noted and we've been told, it's a lack of investment in infrastructure over the past years. There is the opportunity to claim compensation if over certain time as with the ECU regulations. We also had last minute platform changes - if you can't read German download a good translator. The message usually announced in German and flashed in orange on the platform board in the last 5 minutes. We were caught with one connection because wasn't paying attention. Good idea to have flexi time at both ends. I used to love train travel in Germany. Now a choice? Between DB and Lufthansa. 🤔
 
DB should have done better, this is planned work on a line with 30K people a day using it at the construction section.

Once upon a time they would close the line for a few hours, do some work and reopen. Now they just want to close things off in blocks of days because it's easier for the railway and forget the customer.
 
I remember watching a YouTube series (jetlag the game - they're starting the Australia this season now!) and seeing them go from nice reasonably reliable trains in France to bogged down delays and stoppages in Germany.
 
I remember watching a YouTube series (jetlag the game - they're starting the Australia this season now!) and seeing them go from nice reasonably reliable trains in France to bogged down delays and stoppages in Germany.
Yes, we've been using them in Denmark and Norway and so far haven't had the hassles.
 
This all seems to make the trains in England look quite reliable (notwithstanding the regular train drivers strikes).

A couple of weeks ago I travelled Preston (PRE) - Birmingham New St (BHM) - Birmingham Snow Hill (BSW) - Worcester Foregate St (WOF) - Reading (RDG) using 3 separate railway companies and 3 separate tickets, and never had a problem at all. The PRE-BHM train was 10 minutes late due to being behind a late running Cross-Country train, but it wasn't an issue as I'd left plenty of time to make the connection at Snow Hill (a 10 minute walk from New St).
 
I’m writing this as we speak on a 30min delayed service from FRA to Hamburg. I’ve been aboard almost 1.5hrs now, and there’s been countless numbers of unexplained stops in the middle of nowhere, and as others have posted, explanations and information only provided in German.

I was advised several times prior by email that this service was cancelled and I could choose a full refund or book again. Presumably the additional duration triggered a threshold which forced them to cancel the service in advance. The service now takes more than 5 hours in duration. Originating in FRA, I think a short Lufthansa flight would’ve been better solution in hindsight.

I have a few more upcoming long haul DB trips in the next week so we’ll see how they pan out. On this same itinerary, I’m travelling with OEBB (Austrian) and Eurostar so it will be an interesting comparison.
 
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