The union had been expected to announce details of the strikes later on Monday. It is not clear yet how long it will last or when it will be.
DB and GDL bosses had met three times, holding ten hours of talks, over the weekend to try to resolve the dispute over pay, working hours and representation.
The GDL wants the right to represent a broader cross-section of DB staff as well as a five percent pay increase and a two-hour cut to the working week.
The rail operator accused GDL of walking away when a draft agreement was already on the table. "Just yesterday (Sunday) morning… there was little doubt that we were close to a tangible solution," DB said in a statement.
DB's director of HR Ulrich Weber added: "This is not how a reliable negotiating partner behaves."
Train drivers voted overwhelmingly in favour of strikes at the start of October and laid the network low for an entire weekend on October 18th.