The new rail line cuts over two hours off train journey between Germany’s two most prominent cities, taking the journey from over six hours to under four if the train is on time. But that has proven to be a big if so far.
Passengers on one of the first trains heading north on the new line on Sunday were made to wait in Nuremberg for 20 minutes due to a technical problem before being allowed to travel further, Spiegel reports. But even then they were diverted onto the old line to allow faster trains to pass through unhindered. The train eventually arrived in Berlin two hours late.
But that wasn’t even the first mishap to hit the eagerly anticipated opening, which was a quarter century in the making. A private train for 200 honorary guests on Friday evening also arrived around two hours later than planned after various unspecified problems caused the train to stop at several points along the line.
And on Monday morning the teething problems were still in evidence. A train scheduled to set off from Berlin to Munich at 7.38 am was completely cancelled. Deutsche Bahn did not immediately give a reason for the cancellation.
The maiden passenger train on Sunday morning from Berlin to the Bavaria capital did however manage the journey without mishap, with DB announcing that it arrived in Munich one minute too early, at 11.01 am.
High-speed ICE trains travel at speeds of up to 300 km/h on the new line, which cost around €10 billion to build and was first conceived in 1991. Whereas previously the fastest connection between the two major cities was a little over six hours, the “Sprinter” service, which only stops three time along the way, makes the journey in less than four hours.