Monday, September 21, 2020


In 1989, the Berlin wall fell and in 3rd Oct 1990 Germany was reunited. on 1st January 1994, the State railways Deutsche Bundesbahn and Deutsche Reichsbahn were formerly reunited to form the current German Railway Corporation(Deutsche Bahn).State-owned Deutsche Bahn dominates Germany's 43,468 km railway network, accounting for about 80% of the total freight traffic and 99% of the long-distance passenger traffic. 

The German railway network had more than 1,300 km of high-speed railway track operational as of mid-2013 and more than 400 km of new high-speed line under construction. Deutshe Bahn opened high-speed services, under the name Inter City Express (ICE), for the first time in 1991. The high-speed network, operated at speeds up to 320 km/h, now connects major German cities and neighboring countries such as France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria. 

Germany’s rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB), it run as a private company (actually, several companies – under EU law, the same company can’t run both the track and the trains), but with 100 per cent of its shares owned by the German government. This means it’s publicly owned but, like any other company, it has to bid for contracts to operate services from government bodies. 

And it’s not only the only bidder: Germany has private train operators too. 

For long-distance services – shiny high-speed InterCityExpress (ICE), but also older and slower InterCity and EuroCity trains – DB is the only major operator. There is some competition from a handful of private intercity trains offering low-budget services on routes like Hamburg-Cologne and Stuttgart-Berlin , and some international trains from countries like Austria and Czechia, but DB has a near monopoly here. 

On local and regional trains, it’s a lot more mixed. Train franchises are overseen by state governments and local transport agencies, and these often don’t use DB. If you want to travel around the Frankfurt area, for instance, you might want a DB Regio or S-Bahn train, a HLB train (also publicly owned, but by the state of Hesse rather than the German federal government), or one run by the private companies VIAS or vlexx. 

Incidentally, VIAS is part-owned by the Danish State Railways, and vlexx by the Italian State Railways. If you go to the north west of Germany, you’ll even see trains run by the British company National Express. 


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