ICE train at Frankfurt station

Deutsche Bahn punctuality drops to record low

ICE train at Frankfurt station Shutterstock

In November, only every second long-distance train of Deutsche Bahn was on time, with punctuality at 52 per cent being a new low for this year. The many construction works on the German tracks to catch up on a ‘renovation backlog’ are the main culprit, says the German railway company.

Both in regional and in long-distance transport punctuality has dropped since the beginning of the year, but especially so from October to November. Most significantly for the long-distance IC and ICE trains. In January,  punctuality was still at 73 per cent for long-distance trains, while it was 52 per cent in November. For regional trains, punctuality is significantly better, but also dropped from 93 per cent in January to 85,5 per cent in November.

A stop is considered punctual if the scheduled arrival time is exceeded by less than 6 minutes in the below graph for the red line, and the grey line indicates trains that the scheduled arrival time is exceeded by less than 16 minutes. In November, 74 per cent of long-distance trains were no more than 16 minutes late, which means that the remaining 26 per cent was in fact later than that.

The DB punctuality for IC and ICE trains has decreased more and more this year
The DB punctuality for IC and ICE trains has decreased more and more this year

The German Pro Rail Alliance, uniting 24 non-profit organisations and more than 150 railway sector companies, is critical. “Ouch. This is even worse than the average punctuality rate of 66 per cent from the beginning of the year to the end of October. Deutsche Bahn will therefore clearly miss its own punctuality target of more than 70 per cent for the current year”, it says in their newsletter.

‘Depressing, but unsurprising’

Around 75 per cent of long-distance trains were slowed down on their journey through at least one construction site, according to Deutsche Bahn. Due to the massive renovation backlog, the DB has had to significantly expand the construction volume in the current year: around two billion euros from the DB’s own funds were also used to “stabilise the fault-prone infrastructure”, the German railways state.

Short-term construction activity in particular has increased significantly year-on-year. In November 2023, the number of construction sites increased by 11 per cent compared to the previous year. Punctuality fell by 9 percentage points compared to November 2022. “Extremely depressing from the passenger’s perspective – but also unsurprising given decades of neglected investments in rail”, concludes the German Allianz Pro Schiene.

Author: Esther Geerts

Former Editor

1 comment op “Deutsche Bahn punctuality drops to record low”

bönström bönström|06.12.23|01:29

Regrettably, maintaining railway standards, that already at earlier century had passed b b d, means cementing and in all respects is devastating.
All other modes, those redundant and resilient (robust), upgrade for added load and lower costs, etc.
(Already, 70 years ago, “Toyota Case” told us importance of On Time supplies, etc….)
A shift, as 100 years ago, when steam was outed from railways, now is needed! (STAX 32 shall be constructed for, etc., etc.)

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