Deutsche Bahn execs to discuss how to pull company out of debt

Transportation Minister Andreas Scheuer is meeting with Deutsche Bahn CEO Richard Lutz and politicians from various fractions in Berlin Wednesday to map financial improvements to the state-run train service.

Deutsche Bahn execs to discuss how to pull company out of debt
Deutsche Bahn seeks to improve both financing and efficiency. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bahn is heavily in debt and reportedly needs billions of additional euros to modernize its fleet and network. Management is expected to provide information Wednesday as to how high the additional financial requirements of Deutsche Bahn would be made.

The federal government could make more funds available to Deutsche Bahn in the mid-term through more equity capital. There are also plans to sell the profitable foreign rail subsidiary DB Arriva to get money for trains and the track network.

SEE ALSO: How Deutsche Bahn plans to improve its service and staffing in 2019

Political back-and-forth

Kirsten Lühmann, spokeswoman for transport policy for the SPD, wants to limit the federal government's payments. Speaking to hr-iNFO station, she explained that the government already provided a capital increase in 2017. 

At the time, the railway said that was the exact amount they needed to “get the shop up and running again, added Lühmann, pointing out that if government is to give money again now, “it can only be the last injection of money.”

“We need fewer big heads in the central offices of Deutsche Bahn and more responsibility on the part of local employees,” SPD deputy faction leader Sören Bartol told DPA.

Bartol, though, is open to more federal funds. “The SPD is prepared to invest additional funds from the federal budget in the maintenance, electrification and digitization of the railways,” he told the “editorial network” Germany Wednesday.

The Railway and Transport Union (EVG) had estimated the additional financial requirement from the federal government at two to three billion euros per year, as there is an enormous demand to catch up with infrastructure. EVG chairman Alexander Kirchner has reportedly reminded the federal government of its responsibility as owner of the railway.

The leader of the Green fraction, Anton Hofreiter, is in favour of using revenue from the truck toll. “With the truck toll and the reduction of diesel subsidies, funds can be channelled directly from the transport sector into the railway,” he told the Saarbrücker Zeitung.

CSU and transport politician Daniela Ludwig told DPA that the volume of passengers travelling by rail continues to increase as do the freight volumes.

“The expectations of the railways are therefore quite clear: Service and punctuality must improve. From my point of view, there is no problem of knowledge, but rather a problem of implementation,” she said.

Bartol argued that a modern railway needs a modern organisation. “This requires leaner structures in which changes can be responded to quickly. I expect concrete proposals on this from the Rail Management Board.”

What has been previously proposed
Wednesday's meeting is the third in 2019, but, whereas the others focused largely on service and punctuality, this will discuss financing.

Following a meeting with Scheuer in mid-January, Deutsche Bahn announced a package of measures to gradually emerge from the crisis with trains arriving more punctually and improving service for customers.

Their package generally included more investments, more personnel, and less congestion on the railways should contribute to this.

Scheuer called that meeting a “good step.”

The previously proposed package included hiring around 22,000 new employees in Germany in 2019, mainly locomotive drivers, dispatchers, and maintenance staff.


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How to navigate the Deutsche Bahn train strikes in your region of Germany

A standoff between the GDL train drivers’ union and Deutsche Bahn means that rail services will be crippled nationwide in Germany for five days. Here’s the information you need to navigate the strikes in your region.

How to navigate the Deutsche Bahn train strikes in your region of Germany
Berlin central station on Thursday morning. Photo: dpa | Paul Zinken

Deutsche Bahn is encouraging travellers to download the DB Navigator app and to use it immediately before they travel in order to see which services are currently running.

There is some information in English but the detailed lists of which lines are still running are in German. We provide links here to those pages and a brief overview of the main lines that have been affected. (tip: if it says Linie eingestellt, trains aren’t running on that line. 20-Minuten Takt means they’re running every 20 minutes).

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about the German rail strikes


In the capital, S-Bahn services and regional train services have been severely impacted by the strike but the U-Bahn is not run by Deutsche Bahn so is running normally. That means that trying to get around by bus and U-Bahn (both run by BVG) should help you avoid the strikes.

If you’re happy to do plan ahead, there are still some S-Bahn services running. This website (in German) details which lines have been completely closed and which ones still run a train every 20 minutes.

In terms of the key lines: the Ringbahn is not running at all in either direction. Nor is the north-south S26 line, the S45 to the airport (the S9 to BER is still running), and the S75 from Wartemberg in the north-east into the city.

All other S-Bahn lines are running every 20 minutes with the exception of the S8 which is running every 40 mins. Not all of them are doing the full route though.

You can plug your journey into this English page run by Deutsche Bahn and it will show you how to best avoid the strike action.

In terms of regional trains to and from satellite towns, there is a detailed list of which lines have been completely halted for the strike and which have a form of replacement service.

The following lines are not running at all: FEX, RB10, – RB11, RB13, RB20, RB21, RB22, RB23, RB31, RB49, RB55, RE/RB66

Other lines connecting Magdeburg, Dessau, Eberswalde, Stralsund, Rostock and Cottbus with the capital are running reduced services.


The German finance capital is also seriously affected by strikes on both its S-Bahn and regional services.

A full list of the lines that are not running reduced services can be found in German here.

Be careful to check for updates, as the page is updated every day at 11 am for the following day. 

Here are the current services for Thursday and Friday: The S2, S4, S7 and S9 are not running at all. Other lines are running on basic services but often only every hour.


A large number of regional and S-Bahn services in the west of the country have been completely stopped. These include the RE8 over Mönchengladbach, Cologne and Bonn, the RE9 between Aachen, Cologne and Siegen, and the RB33 between Essen and Aachen.

The S4 through Dortmund, the S8 through Düsseldorf and the S68 to Wuppertal have also been completely stopped. See here for further details.

Updates will be posted daily at 10:30am on the website.


In Munich, a replacement S-Bahn timetable has been put in place for the duration of the strikes, with long delays expected on most lines.

The S1, which normally runs between the city and the airport, will be running every 20-40 minutes, but won’t go as far as the airport. The S2, S3, S4 and S6 will equally be running a partial service every 20-40 minutes and won’t stop at all stations. 

The S7 will only be running on an hourly basis, while the S8 will be running every 20 minutes between Pasing and the airport, and will also be running every 40-60 minutes to stations further along the line.

The S20 will not be running at all during the strike.

DB has not yet published a detailed list available of which regional trains have been affected in Bavaria, but cross-border services into Austria, Italy and Hungary and likely to be heavily impacted.

However DB say that they will update the travel planner website for Bavaria every day at 12:00 for the following day. You can plug your departure point and destination into that site here or check for general travel updates on here.

Other areas of the country

Various other parts of the are facing impediments to travel due to the strike. The east of the country is particularly affected. For an exhaustive list of all of the regions of the country where lines are not running according to schedule you can peruse this web page (in German).

READ ALSO: Germany’s train strikes: What rights do you have as a passenger?