Berlin The timetable change will mean faster Deutsche Bahn train connections between Bonn to Berlin in future. Instead of four direct connections, up to 14 ICE trains per day will travel back and forth between the two cities.
From mid-December, passengers on important rail routes in Germany will have more connections to choose from. The timetable change will see an increase in the number of daily seats on Deutsche Bahn's long-distance services of 13,000 to 213,000, the company announced. "As of 13 December, we will be providing more services, more comfort and more seats on new trains than ever before," said DB’s long-distance transport boss Michael Peterson.
Long-distance trains will run every half hour between Hamburg and Berlin during the day. Here alone, the daily number of seats will increase by 6,000 to 36,000, and the direct ICE service between Bonn and Berlin will also be extended. Michael Peterson, Chairman of the Board for DB's long-distance transport, said that instead of four there would soon be up to 14 direct daily connections between Bonn and Berlin. The 2021 timetable will include an additional ICE connection Hamburg-Kassel-Munich which will also strengthen the existing regular services.
The Berlin-Hamburg connection every 30 minutes during the day means that one step of the so-called "Deutschlandtakt" is being implemented. This is part of a "roadmap" for the future of the railways, which was agreed by politicians, trade unions, railway companies and associations at the end of June.
By 2030, twice as many people are to travel on the more climate-friendly railways than today. In future, rail customers will reach their destinations more easily and quickly, trains will be more punctual - and more goods will be transferred from road transport to rail. At a later date, there will also be a connection every half hour on the Berlin-Cologne route.
"In future, rail passengers will be able to take the train more often and faster everywhere", said Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) in a statement on Sunday. "This will bring town and country closer together. And the Deutschlandtakt will be followed by the Europatakt".
Scheuer also wants to revive the "Trans-Europe-Express" (TEE), which for 30 years connected the metropoles of western Europe before it was discontinued in 1987. With a combination of high-speed and night trains, the Minister said in September that he first wants to offer such trans-European lines which do not require major infrastructure measures. These include direct connections between Amsterdam and Rome, Paris and Warsaw or Berlin and Barcelona. These cities are to be mutually accessible with travel times of around 13 hours. In a second phase, the southern German region will then be more closely linked to destinations in eastern and southern Europe and also Scandinavia.
While politicians and the Deutsche Bahn were in agreement on Sunday when it came to expanding the connections, the company is experiencing trouble with another issue. The Railway and Transport Union (EVG) has criticised the attitude of the Deutsche Bahn towards the promotion of women. "It has long been proven that diversity on boards of directors, at management levels and in the workforce strengthens the economy," Cosima Ingenschay, EVG board member and national managing director, told the Düsseldorf-based "Rheinische Post" (Saturday).
The news magazine "Der Spiegel" had previously reported that Deutsche Bahn were blocking government plans to promote women, quoting from correspondence between the company and several federal ministries. According to this correspondence, Deutsche Bahn warned of high costs due to additional equal opportunities commissioners and of difficulties in finding skilled workers in technical-operative professions. A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs stated that the facts of the case had been accurately presented. In contrast, Deutsche Bahn spoke of incorrect and misleading reporting. Ingenschay was "shocked" by the attitude of Deutsche Bahn on the issue.
Deutsche Bahn is expressly committed to the equal participation of women and men and thus to the Federal Government's initiative, said a spokeswoman. At the same time, she made it clear: "Deutsche Bahn does not consider new bureaucratic hurdles and the resulting competitive disadvantages to be conducive to achieving the goal.” The company is in close contact with the responsible ministries in order to find an amicable solution, she said. “Increasing the proportion of women in management positions is a central concern for the group's board of management.”
(Original text: Burkhard Fraune and Tobias Schmidt, dpa; Translation: Caroline Kusch)