Bonn/Rhein-Sieg-Kreis Despite the corona pandemic, Deutsche Bahn is expanding long-distance connections to the Rhineland. Tickets will become more expensive on 13 December and holders of the senior citizens' rail card must be older.
Despite the corona pandemic, Deutsche Bahn is expanding long-distance connections to the Rhineland. Tickets will become more expensive on 13 December and holders of the senior citizens' rail card will be older.
The change of the timetable of the Deutsche Bahn (DB) in December is something commuters watch with excitement every year. With the new timetable from 13 December, improvements are in sight for the ICE long-distance station Siegburg/Bonn and for Bonn's main station. Unlike last year: the timetable change had caused indignation because express trains were running to Cologne without stopping in Siegburg. After massive protests from commuters and politicians, the railway gave in and had three more trains stop at Siegburg/Bonn station than had originally been planned, including the important connection at 6.07 am in the direction of Frankfurt.
With the new timetable, a connection in the evening is now to be improved. "The daily ICE 512 from Munich via Stuttgart, Frankfurt Airport to Cologne will stop again in Siegburg/Bonn in the evening at 9.50 pm from December onwards. Siegburg will thus have an attractive late connection from the citys in the southwest," said a railway spokesperson in response to a GA enquiry.
Further ICE trains from Munich via Nuremberg, Frankfurt Central Station and Frankfurt Airport to Cologne will stop in Siegburg daily after the timetable change, so now also on Sunday there will be connections at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. "In total, the number of long-distance stops which is more than 60 per day at Siegburg station will increase again," said the railway spokesman. However, the daily late ICE direct connection from Essen (departure 7.41 p.m.) via Cologne to Frankfurt (arrival 9.48 p.m.), which was advertised in a press release, only stops in Deutz, where passengers travelling to Siegburg have to change to the S-Bahn.
Overcrowded commuter trains criticised
Another point of criticism from customers last year was that commuter trains were regularly overcrowded in the mornings and evenings. Passengers without reservations sometimes had to wait for the next train. The Corona pandemic has also changed that. Due to the worsening of the situation since the beginning of October and also due to the appeal of the Federal Government to avoid travelling as much as possible, the capacity utilisation of long-distance trains is currently around 20 per cent, according to the spokesman.
There are no plans to reduce the number of trains on offer: "We are offering the full timetable to everyone who has to travel now. The only exception to this in long-distance traffic are individual sprinter and booster trains, which are on a temporary break.“ From January to October, Deutsche Bahn reported that it recorded around 72 million passengers on long-distance services. This was 53 million or 42 percent less than in the same period last year.
More seats and more expensive journeys
"Even in the difficult Corona times, we can largely maintain our timetable and in some cases even further improve it, especially to the federal capital. The prerequisite for the green transport turnaround is strong railways," said Werner Lübberink, Deutsche Bahn's Group Representative for NRW. The gradual deployment of the new seven-carriage ICE 4 between Cologne and Berlin, for example, is to offer more seats. According to DB, Bonn and Berlin will in future be connected by 14 ICE trains without changing connections, compared to four so far. This will reduce the journey time by 20 minutes. Another new feature is a night ICE, which leaves Bonn at 10.48 pm and arrives at Berlin's main station at 5.36 am.
At the time of the timetable change, fares will also be raised, by an average of 1.5 per cent for a regular ticket. The Bahncard 100 used by many commuters will also be 1.9 per cent more expensive on average, according to DB. Bahncard 25 and 50, on the other hand, will remain the same in price.
From 1 April 2021, everyone between the ages of 60 and 64 can feel young: They will no longer be considered senior citizens. Only new customers over the age of 65 will receive the reduced Bahncard for senior citizens.
Mittelrheinbahn to operate with three cars in future
Nahverkehr Rheinland (NVR) announces that the Mittelrheinbahn (RB26) will operate between Cologne and Remagen with 252 additional seats from the timetable change. Longer trains will be used on the heavily frequented section of the line. Up to now, they have been running in double carriage arrangement, but in future triple carriages will be possible. This will increase the seating capacity from 504 to 756 seats. Six new trains will be added to the fleet.
(Original text: Bettina Köhl/Translation: Mareike Graepel)