Deutsche Bahn unveils 2024 timetable: longer ICEs on main routes
The new 2024 timetable of Deutsche Bahn promises up to 25 per cent more seats on high-demand routes, including Berlin to North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin to Munich. The German operator will also introduce additional Sprinter services and improve regional services.
The new 2024 timetable is set to become effective from December 10, 2023, and tickets will be available from October 11, 2023. With it, Deutsche Bahn (DB) is creating “more new long-distance connections than in 20 years”, according to the German state operator. Thanks to the constant influx of new trains, DB can offer more and faster connections as well as significantly more seats between major cities.
“We are now reaping the fruits of our fleet strategy of the last few years”, says Michael Peterson, DB board member for long- distance passenger transport. “It was right that we continued to expand our long-distance transport fleet even during the pandemic. This means our passengers benefit twice: they experience the comfort of new vehicles and benefit from new connections that we can offer with more trains. With two trains per hour between Berlin and Hanover as well as Berlin and Munich, we are taking another step towards the Deutschlandtakt.”
More frequent and faster between metropolises
Deutsche Bahn will increase the number of seats between major cities by introducing longer trains, particularly on the corridors between Berlin and cities in North Rhine-Westphalia such as Cologne and Düsseldorf. With a new two-hourly ICE line Berlin–Wuppertal–Cologne, the splitting and coupling of trains in Hamm (Westphalia) every two hours will no longer be necessary. This shortens the travel time between the Rhine and Spree by up to ten minutes and the ICE trains via Dortmund and Düsseldorf can then run every two hours with double capacity. The new line and changed timetables of existing lines will create a half-hourly service between Hannover and Berlin.
Travellers between Berlin and Munich in southern Germany will benefit from up to 14 Sprinter journeys in each direction, nearly doubling the previous frequency. Notably, three new Sprinters will cover the Berlin-Nuremberg route in a mere 3 hours and 45 minutes, offering a direct connection without stops.
From 2024, also the travel time between Berlin and Amsterdam is reduced by around 30 minutes. This is achieved through the use of multi-system locomotives, which eliminate the time-consuming change of locomotives at the Dutch-German border, and a new stopping concept on this line.
More intercity connections
DB is significantly expanding its offering on the Nuremberg-Jena-Leipzig intercity connection. Instead of one, there will now be five trips in each direction every day. With Rudolstadt and Ludwigsstadt, East Thuringia and Upper Franconia will gain two additional long-distance transport stops. Compared to the Regional Express, travelers on this route travel 30 minutes faster with the IC.
Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania also benefit from additional IC connections. Magdeburg is getting a new direct Intercity connection to/from Hamburg with a stop in Stendal. There will be an additional trip on each of the existing connections (Leipzig)–Magdeburg–Schwerin–Rostock and (Norddeich)–Magdeburg–Potsdam–Berlin.
New vehicles and night traffic expansion
Modern ICE 3neo trains, some with revamped interiors, are set to ply routes in North Rhine-Westphalia, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Munich. In addition, Deutsche Bahn is introducing the ICE 4 on routes to Austria, replacing previous Intercity trains.
Travellers will also benefit from an expanded partnership between DB and Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), who will offer Nightjet connections from Berlin to Paris and Brussels from December this year. These connections will initially run three times a week, then daily from autumn 2024. Railjet trains of the new generation from ÖBB are gradually replacing the EC trains in Brenner traffic between Munich and Italy.
To a ‘high-performance network’
In preparation for future growth, DB will continue its network rehabilitation efforts in 2024. The DB’s pilot project on the way to a high-performance starts with the general renovation of the Riedbahn between Frankfurt/Main and Mannheim in July 2024, with the entire infrastructure being renewed. Though some temporary adjustments and diversions will affect services, these projects aim to benefit train traffic across Germany.
In addition, DB is investing 60 million euros to modernise travel centres at the 25 busiest stations, with Düsseldorf Central Station already showcasing the new design. Other stations, including Berlin, Mannheim, Cologne, and Hamburg, are next in line for renovations. For passengers booking journeys in the DB Navigator app, buying a ticket to bring a dog or bicycle becomes possible digitally.