Trains to travel between major German cities every 30 minutes

Starting in December, Germany's railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) plans to connect some major German cities every 30 minutes.

Trains to travel between major German cities every 30 minutes
A Deutsche Bahn regional train in Hamburg in

It will be possible, for example, to travel between Berlin and Hamburg twice an hour, said Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, of the centre right CSU, to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Additional routes are still being planned, and will appear in DB's next train timetable, set to go into effect on December 14th.

The new routes are part of the Deutschlandtakt, or a plan to make train connections in Germany more reliable and punctual, and shorten travel times.

READ ALSO: How the coronavirus pandemic is changing train travel in Germany

“The Bahn will deliver. The customer will feel this through the Deutschlandtakt, which has been talked about for years and which we are now launching,” said Scheuer.

As part of the plan, it will be possible to find twice hourly connections between large cities such as Hamburg, Berlin, Munich or Frankfurt. 

Those changing trains can then board a regional train within 15 minutes, which will then transport them to smaller city destinations.

Getting back on track

Scheuer is gearing up to sign a Schienenpakt (Railway Pact) with the train industry and its associations on Tuesday in order to strengthen the industry as a whole. 

One of its major goals will be improving punctuality in long-distance train traffic, which Deutsche Bahn has struggled with for years.

Only since the coronavirus crisis, when fewer trains and, above all, notably fewer passengers travelled by train, have trains run significantly more punctually. 

READ ALSO: Deutsche Bahn sees 85 percent drop in passenger numbers due to coronavirus

In April, 88.6 percent of all long-distance trains reached their destination on time.

In May, the figure was 86.3 percent – or 6.5 percentage points more than in the same month last year. A train is considered punctual if its scheduled arrival is exceeded by less than six minutes.

The Deutschlandtakt is a central component of a joint plan for the future of the railways, which the federal government has been hammering out over the past two years together with Deutsche Bahn, rail competitors and transport associations.


Component – (das) Bestandteil 

Long-distance trains – (die) Fernzüge 

More reliable – zuverlässiger

exceeded – überschritten

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?

Several political parties in Germany have said they want to bring back sleeper trains in order to meet carbon emissions targets.

Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?
A sleeper train in Austria. Photo: dpa/APA | Georg Hochmuth

The Green party have said that they want to put state subsidies into night trains that will connect Germany with cities as far flung as St Petersburg in the north and Lisbon in the south.

According to the environmentalist party’s plans, 40 night rail lines could connect 200 destinations across the continent including islands like Mallorca, which would be linked in by train and ferry.

The Greens want the EU to buy a fleet of sleeper trains that could travel at speeds of between 200 km/h and 250 km/h.

The CDU have also announced plans to rebuild the country’s sleeper train services.

Deutsche Bahn stopped its last sleeper service in 2016 citing the high costs involved in maintaining its fleet that was not recuperated through ticket sales.

Earlier this year the state owned company said it had “no plans” to purchase new sleeper wagons.