Deutsche Bahn reports record revenues despite train delays

German state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn on Thursday reported record revenues and passenger numbers in 2018, tempered by a decline in punctuality and drop in profits.

Deutsche Bahn reports record revenues despite train delays
Deutsche Bahn ICE Trains. Photo: DPA

The red-and-white-liveried company added 5.7 million passengers compared with 2017, transporting a record 148 million people on its main lines in Germany.

Across Europe, 2.6 billion passengers used Deutsche Bahn trains in 2018 — up 17 million on 2017.

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

Overall sales increased by 3.0 percent year-on-year to €44.0 billion.

However, net profit fell from €765 million in 2017 to €542 million as delays, often caused by updating its rail network, again proved to the company's Achilles heel. 

“The truth tells us that the success of railways is not without painful side effects,” admitted Deutsche Bahn boss Richard Lutz.

Delays are an issue for the German rail giant, which saw a drop in their  punctuality rate to 74.9 percent from 78.5 percent in 2017, based on trains  more than six minutes late according to the criteria set by Deutsche Bahn.

Lutz described the punctuality figures as 'unsatisfactory' and said the 2019 goal was to reach 76.5 percent punctuality.

To achieve this, the company boss said, “more capacity is the key to a more punctual and attractive” service.

After investing €11.2 billion last year, an effort largely supported by the federal state, Deutsche Bahn wants to invest a further €12 billion in the coming 12 months. 

SEE ALSO: Deutsche Bahn to spend over €10 billion to improve rail services

The company wants to keep its net debt, which reached 19.5 billion at the end of December 2018, below €20 billion by the end of the year.

Freight transportation, operated by the DB Cargo division, continues to 
cause problems with an operating loss widening to €190 million from a €90 million loss in 2017.

For the current financial year, Deutsche Bahn is aiming for global revenues 
of more than €45 billion, with operating profit above 1.9 billion and net profit exceeding €500 million.


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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?